REMARKS On Several Late Writings, Publish'd in English by the SOCINIANS: Wherein Is show'd the insufficiency and weakness of their Answers to the Texts brought against them by the Orthodox.

IN FOUR LETTERS. Written at the Request of a Socinian Gentleman.

By H. DE LƲZANCY, B. D. Vic. of Doverc. and Harwich.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Warren, for Thomas Bennet, at the Half-Moon in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1696.

THE PREFACE.

THE design of the following Letters was to instruct a private Gentleman, who by reading Socinian Books, had got a mighty prejudice against the Sacred Doctrines of the Holy Trinity, and Incarnation. He desir'd that he might have the liberty to communicate my Papers to some of his Friends of that perswasion. But this being lyable to many inconveniences, it was thought much fitter at once to expose them to publick view. Whether he will be convinc'd by these Writings must be left to God, who best knows the ways of working upon the minds of men. Whether there is matter enough to convince him, is left to the judgment of the World?

The general means to clear a Controversy are Reason, and Authority. I humbly conceive, that the first has nothing to do in this dispute. For how can we argue from the Principles of natural reason in a point wholly Divine and Supernatural? and how can the Philosopher of this World conclude with any certainty, in that which is above all the inqui­ries, and decisions of Philosophy. I ever thought the Socinians extreamly in the wrong, with their [Page]pretended contradictions in the belief of our Holy Mysteries, and the Letter to both the Ʋniversities, much the worst of all their Writings: It being cer­tainly neither just, nor candid, to use Topicks, though never so ingeniously turn'd, altogether foreign to the matter in dispute; and to give an air of probability to that which when truly stated, and consider'd, is of another nature than the thing propos'd to us. I take it for granted, even by these Gentlemen them­selves, that Faith and Reason are two different things; and consequently that that which is the ob­ject of Faith, cannot be the object of Reason. Of what use then can those Arguments be which are call'd Demonstrations against the Doctrines of the Holy Trinity, and Incarnation; Those perpetual descants upon the impossibility of Three being One, and One Three; of the same substance unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding; of a part of God being incarnate, and another not incarnate: All this, and ten thousand Objections more are a fallacy, and an imposition on Mankind: The case here being of another nature, not tryable at the Bar of our corrupt Reason; but call'd to another and a more infallible Tribunal.

On the other side, though it looks much like Cha­rity and Condescension; yet it is certainly an Inad­vertency, to have pretended to answer these Gentle­men in their own way, and to run with them upon the same false scent, of reasoning on those things which we ought only to believe, and adore. The So­cinians may write till Doomsday to prove the Ʋn­r [...]asonableness; and their charitable and learned [Page]Answerers may do the same, to prove the Reason­ableness of our Christian Doctrine; I mean, keep­ing still within the compass of natural reason; and yet this great truth will never be clear'd; because indeed neither of them embrace the true Method to clear it.

The way then of Authority is both the plainest and the safest. It has that advantage, that the other is even resolv'd into it. For there is nothing so highly rational as a submission of our Reason to an Authority which all sides own to be infallible. We all agree that the Divine Scriptures are the rule of our Faith. We all acknowledge them to be the word of God: and this very name commands naturally, and of it self a veneration, which no human Wri­tings, though of never so much strength and clear­ness, can force from us. It is then from thence, and only from thence, that we ought to reason, and conclude in this Sacred Controversy. The consent of the whole Christian World must be a strong induce­ment to a modest Socinian to mistrust all his Ar­guments. To oppose all that has been, and is Great and Good in the Church of God, in a point of Faith, is too much for the most presuming Disputant. But when the Authority of God, speaking in those Scrip­tures, which we all contend to be the Revelation which he has made of himself to us, is superadded to the universal consent of the Church, all the reasons which we can pretend to oppose to this, ought to be no more to men of sence, than talk and noise.

The Church asserts the Ʋnity of the Divine Na­ture, in which three distinct, and equally adorable [Page]Persons subsist, The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, of which the second was Incarnate, and in the fullness of time became Man. To say that this is false, because incomprehensible, is a lament­able consequence. Nor is it sufferable to reject the belief of these Mysteries, because our poor, narrow, and corrupt Reason is pleas'd to state contradictions in a subject so far above our capacity; and to say, as those Gentlemen urge vehemently, that we cannot believe that of which we can have no notion, or Idea, is much worse: since, besides that we have little or no knowledge at all of the ways, operations, and manner of Existence of an Infinite Being; to suppose a notion or an Idea of the thing propos'd, is to destroy Faith, which Heb. 11.1. is the evi­dence of things not seen: that is, an assurance and certainty of that which is imperceptible to us, because above the reach of our understanding; sup­plying by the Authority of the Revelation, that no­tion or Idea of which these Gentlemen argue an ab­solute necessity.

The only way then to satisfy our selves is to hear what the Scripture teaches concerning this. For if the Church speaks the language of the Scripture, it speaks as God has taught us; and to speak after God is the most certain and excellent way of speaking in the World. The Challenge of the great Athanasius to the Arrians, and of St. Austin to the Hereticks of his time, was the most reasonable Proposition in nature to a people who own'd Christianity; and that is, that laying aside human reasoning, and re­lying upon the veracity of the Divine Oracles, [Page]they should inquire, not what man propos'd, but what God has say'd in the matter. If the Scripture is positive that God is one; and yet asserts the Father to be God, the Son to be God, and the Holy Ghost to be God: If it says that the Son has taken our nature upon him; The Church speaks as the Scripture has taught, and the Doctrine of the Trinity and Incarnation, is the Doctrine of the Church; because it is first that of the Scripture.

Being perswaded then that the dispute must at last be put upon that Issue; and sensible that any thing else that is propos'd of both sides, though it shews the great parts and abilities of the Disputants, can yet give no solid satisfaction; I have endeavour'd to walk in the old way, and aim'd at these two things. First, To prove the Divinity of our Blessed Saviour, and of the Holy Spirit, which proof really implies all the rest. For if the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, The great objection is answer'd, that Three Divine Persons destroy the Ʋnity of God, which is the state of the question. Since if it does ap­pear that it is so; there is a Trinity of Persons without a destruction of that Ʋnity which is insepa­rable from the Divine Nature.

Secondly, I have attempted to shew the insuffici­ency of these Gentlemen's Answers to those substan­tial Texts on which our Belief rests. For I must beg leave to say, that it is almost incredible, that such thin, ill-built, unwary Answers, should drop from Persons undoubtedly of great Learning: and it is a strong confirmation of those very proofs, when mighty Adversaries have so little to say to them.

If the whole is not mannag'd as it should be; I hope that the Sacred Cause which I maintain, will not suffer for it; and if the Person, for whose sake these Letters are written, is not satisfy'd by what I have done; It is his and my Misfortune, that I can do no better. Whatsoever is in these Papers is with the humblest submission offer'd to the Judgment and Censure of the Church of England.

THE First LETTER.

SIR,

I Have read the Books which you were pleas'd to lend me, with as much application as I could; and am now to discharge my promise of giving you my sence of them. I confess it is somewhat a hard Province, and in particular to me, who ever was an Enemy to disputes in Religion; and fully per­swaded, that the only way to unite dissenting Chri­stians, is, not so much to dispute, as to live up to the duties of a Religion, which we all confess to be as the God who gave it, holy and just. This would have oblig'd me to be silent: But since it has pleas'd God to make you a part of my Care, and that you desire me to resolve your Doubts against the Catholick Do­ctrine, which you say you are most willing to em­brace, if you can be satisfied that it is true; I will endeavour to give you the best information I can, lea­ving all to the candor of your nature, and to that so­lid judgment which I have observ'd in you.

I design'd once to have follow'd every tract which you put in my hands: But I was disswaded from it, First, By the length and tediousness of the work. Se­condly, By observing that your Friends say almost the same things over and over again: These Gentlemen having the way to turn the same Argument into seve­ral shapes, and put their thoughts every day in a new dress.

As to their abilities, their greatest Enemies must confess that they are not ordinary. They are Men of learning: Their stile is correct, exact and florid. They have the misfortune of Origen, of whom an An­cient said, that Ʋbi bene, nemo melius, ubi male, nemo pejus. None can do better, where they are in the right: none worse, where they are in the wrong.

I find also that sometimes those fine Pens are dipt in Gall; that they are not sparing of the sharpest in­vectives; and that laying aside their fine and Gentle­men-like way of writing, they become Mortals again, and grow acquainted with all sorts of Sarcasms. The Preface to Mr. Milbourn is sharp and scurrilous. The Reflexion on both the Universities, and the skill of the Bottle, do not much grace the Dispute. The Tri­nity of Marcus Tullius Cicero, by reason of an illustra­tion of the word person by Dr. Wallis; The Trinity of the Mobile, of ignorant and lazy Doctors; The Sabellian Targonry of Dr. South, Consider. on the Ex­plic. of the Doctr. of the Holy Trin. pag. 11. might have been laid aside, and the pretended Wit that it a­mounts to, reserv'd for a better use.

Give me leave also to admire, how men who are willing to be thought pious as well as learned, can turn solid Reasonings into Railleries, and disprove an Argument by ridiculing it. Indeed Tertullian in his Apologetick, asks, whether he shall laugh at the vanity of the Heathen and their Rites, or whether he shall reproach them with their blindness? Rideam vanitatem, qut exprobrem caecitatem? But it is quite a­nother thing, when a Writer pretends to answer men of Reason and Learning! and when the Objecti­ons are really strong and solid. Not to multiply in­stances, I will only point at that in a Letter of Reso­lution, pag. 3, 4, 5. The Author had objected to himself, that the Trinity, and Incarnation are incom­prehensible Mysteries, and that when the matter is [Page 3]of meer Revelation, it is not to be judg'd by either Reason or Sence. He proposes several things which are really above both: This is answer'd by making a Mystery of that which is none, the assertion of Christ, Joh. 15.1. I am the true Vine; and the notion of God-Man, is ridicul'd by that of Christ-Vine or Vine-man, or Viney man. Dr. Wallis having asserted, That the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are more than three divine Attributes, and that though perhaps their Personality may not so exactly be understood by the notion of Personality which we are acquainted with in created Beings; yet there is certainly somewhat more than Attributes. They make a perpetual de­scant upon three Somewhats, or three I know not what's, the Ʋnreason. of the Doctr. of the Trin. pag. 5, 6. Dr. South in his Animadversions, Chap. 8. pag. 241. ha­ving explain'd the Modes of Being, and having told us, That a Mode is properly a certain habitude of some Being, Essence, or Thing, whereby the said Essence, or Being is determin'd to some particular state or condition, which barely of it self it should not be determin'd to— That a Mode in things spiritual and immaterial seems to have much the like reference to such kinds of Beings, as a posture has to a body, to which it gives some difference, or distinction, without adding any new Entity or Being to it: and having told us also pag. 242. lin 4. that no one thing can agree both to God and the Creature by a perfect Ʋnivocation, which the Answerer has, I hope, not wilfully overlookt, and which is enough to prevent any just exception against it; Then, Consider, on the Explic. pag. 21. we have a story of Don Quixot, and of Dulcinea del Toboso, pag. 22. He makes the grave and learned Doctor to answer, That the three Divine Persons are the Substance of God in three Gambols or postures. A little below, he thinks, it should seem, that the Faithful must put their trust in there postures. [Page 4]Thus the Declamation goes on. Posture A begets Po­sture B, Posture A and B breathe Posture C. I appeal to these Gentlemen themselves, whether this is the way to vindicate Religion, and keep men from A­theism? Whether they seek to instruct or divert their Reader? Whether such petulant Sallies of Wit are like to do much for an Argument?

Dr. South going to deliver the Opinion of the Church concerning the Holy Trinity, does it Ani­madv. Chap. 8. pag. 240. with the humblest submis­sion to the Judgment of the Church of England. Mr. Milbourn has done the same. There is in those sort of expressions a great deal of modesty and Justice. If an Author, even in a point of humane Learning, must not pretend to dictate; but gives an easie In­troduction to his Reasons, by removing all that is imposing and positive: How much more in the treat­ing of things of so sacred and abstruse a nature? And is it not just that a private man who pretends to shew what the Church believes, should leave to the Church to judge whether he has not misrepresented her Do­ctrine? This submission of these Reverend Persons is thus taken up, Consider. on the Explicat. pag. 20. Tru­ly I am heartily sorry that Dr. South has no fixt Re­ligion of his own, no not concerning the Trinity it self; but is ready to turn with the wind; is pre­par'd to renounce a Doctrine and Explication which he believes to be not only true, but fundamental; if the Church commands him: and lower, We may infer however from these publick Professions of the Writers, That could the Socinians get Mother Church of their side, all her Champions would also come over to us; for 'tis not, it seems, the Cause that they defend; 'Tis not the Trinity and Incar­nation which they value, but our Mother, our Mo­ther the Church: and in the Preface to Mr. Mil­bourn, pag. 7. On the same conditions Mother Ship­ton [Page 5]should be as sacred, and as infallible with them as Mother Church, and they would believe the Kingdom of Oberon and the Territories of Fairy­land.

In a Book call'd the Trinitarian Scheme, which I can compare to nothing better than a Pamphlet, in the late King's Reign, intituled, The Papist misrepre­sented and represented, pag. 16. having misrepresented a Doctrine which is true in it self, and that is, that the most wicked men are sometimes converted to God at the last hour of their life, an Instance of which we have in the Thief on the Cross; the Author is so far transported as to say, The next thing that we may expect from some men, is that they will write a Panegyrick in the praise of the Devil.

These Exceptions I make to their way of writing. There is another, I confess I must make to their per­sons! I mean as to the Name which they are pleas'd to assume to themselves. They are pleas'd to call themselves Ʋnitarians. To quarrel with a Name is somewhat extraordinary. But truly, that a handful of men who have not yet pretended to make a Body, and are only distinguisht by a singularity of Opinions, which the whole Christian World, even in their own Confession exclaims against, is in its own nature strangely extraordinary. If by Ʋnitarians they mean all those who live in the belief of One only true God, they do all Christians an extreme injury. Since there is none who believes in, or adores more than one only God. I will not grudge to men the pleasure to say that they are of Cephas, and Apollo, though con­trary to his design, who would have us say, that we are of Christ, and only of Christ. If they have so great a veneration for Names as to love to be call'd Calvi­nists, Arminians, Socinians, and what not; let them freely enioy that imaginary happiness. But to take the name of Ʋnitarians, as if by it they pretend to [Page 6]denominate a Sect, is a strange sort of Underta­king. But if by it they contradistinguish themselves from us, by pretending to defend the Unity of God, it is an unwarrantable Invasion of the Rights of all Christians who make this the Foundation of their Faith.

They have run into another Excess, and call'd the Defenders of the Catholick Doctrine Trinitarians, having perswaded themselves, and endeavouring to perswade the World, that we teach Tritheism, and by a more refin'd way of Idolatry, have brought in the Adoration of three Gods. Whereas they must acknowledge, that this is a Notion detested by all Christians: that at the same time, that being taught from above, to use the expression of an ancient Bi­shop of the Greek Church, we assert three Persons; we assert them in one only God: and that all that they have to say against this, is only a Consequence ill drawn from a Doctrine which they have misunder­stood.

The Question is not between us, Whether God is one? This is granted on all sides. The Question is, Whether admitting three Persons in that one God, does not destroy that Unity which we all contend for? These Gentlemen say it does; We maintain that it does not.

Now the misery in this case is, That the Socinians will not be contented with the common Topicks of arguing, which have hitherto been made use of a­mongst Christians. For when we pretend to prove what we advance, by such places of Scripture as are plain and evident; then we meet with a witty Criti­cism, a pretty Paraphrase, or a Tale by the by, as that in the Answerer to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 36. The most Illustrious Grotius, or the most Learned Erasmus come in at a dead lift. The one who is the brief History of the Ʋnit. pag. 11. is represented as Socinian [Page 7]all over: The other, of whom it is said in the same place, that he would have been of the Arrian Perswa­sion, if the Church had allow'd it.

When we answer their Objections, instead of that equitable Temper which is willing to be overcome; nothing being so glorious as to be conquer'd by the Truth; they tell us in the Thoughts upon Dr. Sher­lock's Vindication, pag. 12. One may easily see how convenient the Machine of probable Senses is, which our Divines bring into their Disputes, what an ea­sy thing it is for them to free themselves from pres­sing difficulties! and make new Overtures with these famous Keys of Transpositions of words, or Clauses, errours of Copies, &c.

When from the Authority of Scripture, we pass to that of the Fathers, and they find themselves pres­sed with a Cloud of Witnesses, they reply, Answ. to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 44. That indeed their System is unknown to the Fathers, whose Writings are now extant; But had not their Opposers supprest the Works of Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Lucian, Artemas, Theodorus, Paul of Antioch, Photinus of Syr­mium, Marcellus of Ancyra, we had known their Sense better.

When we are even willing to do more than the nature of the thing in question will bear, that is, ex­plain that incomprehensible Mystery, and bring that as much as we can within the compass of our Reason, which indeed is above it; This they call, Thoughts upon Dr. Sherlock's Vindic. pap. 8, 9. To have our Faith depend upon Plato's Idea's, Aristotle's Subtil­ties, Cartesius his Self, and mutual Consciousness, and metaphysical Abstractions more unintelligible to poor Mortals than the Tongue of Angels: They exclaim against those Expressions which Anti­quity has consecrated, and the common Consent of the learned World made venerable; Essence, Sub­stance, [Page 8]Hypostasis, Generation, Spiration, Procession: And yet these Gentlemen not only pretend to Reason; but would so monopolize it to themselves, as to make their Adversaries the most unreasonable people in the World. Reason in all their Writings is the Word. To it the most express Revelation must be made to stoop; and God must not be Judge of what he com­mands man to believe. But man assumes to himself to know, whether what God commands is agreeable to the Principles of his Reason? I know that they would seem to exclaim against this; and that in the Letter of Resolution concerning the Doctrine of the Trinity and Incarnation, pag. 1. they complain that they are charg'd with exalting Reason above Revela­tion. They apologize for it in the Observations of Dr. Wallis's Letters, pag. 16. But how can this be reconcil'd with this Assertion, Considerat. on the Ex­plicat. of the Doctr. of the Trin. pag. 5. If Heaven and Earth were miraculously destroy'd to confirm an Interpretation which disagrees with the natural and Grammatical sense of the words, it will for all that remain a false Interpretation: Which in plain English amounts to this; that though Heaven contra­dicts an Interpretation by the most forcible sort of Argument, which is a real Miracle, and such as the Destruction of the whole World; yet if it does not agree with that natural or Grammatical sense which our Reason makes of these words; The Miracle will be true, but the Interpretation false.

I am willing to give to Reason all the weight and admiration that it deserves, it being the distinguish­ing Character of man, and that by which he ought to be guided in his spiritual and temporal Concerns. But there is a rational way of using our Reason, which when strain'd beyond its bounds, is no more Reason but extravagance and obstinacy. When the greatest Authority in the World imposes on us the belief of [Page 9]that which our Reason cannot penetrate or under­stand: It is not the work of Reason to reject it, be­cause the Notion is unintelligible, and in our imper­fect way of Reasoning offers seeming Contradictions. But the truest and noblest Exercise of our Reason is to submit to that Authority; and when we are satis­fy'd that God speaks; man is never so rational; as when he yields without any inquiry into what he is pleas'd to reveal. I say, seeming Contradictions; for admitting the Divine Revelation, no Contradiction can be real. We may imagine that indeed it is so, because we are men who know very little, and in the state of sin and weakness that we are in, meet with a thousand obstacles to our perceptions. But suppo­sing that God has deliver'd it, there can be no such thing as a Contradiction, because howsoever I appre­hend it, it still comes from him who cannot contra­dict himself.

The Question once more is not of the Unity of the Divine Nature. The Orthodox are as stiff as they in the point. The Question is, Whether the Trini­ty of Persons destroys or no the Unity of that Divine Nature? The Orthodox must carry it, if they can prove that the same God who has reveal'd the one, has also reveal'd the other. For if he has done this, our duty is to adore in an humble silence what we cannot understand, and those very Contradictions which we fansie in the thing reveal'd, ought only to be to us sensible proofs of our ignorance, and deep arguments of humiliation. The Socinians then are in a great mistake, and instead of writing Books after Books to shew the pretended inconsistencies and con­tradictions in the Revelation; they ought to prove plainly that it is not reveal'd at all. For if it clearly appears that it is so, the pretended Contradictions must lye at their door, but the Revelation will still be safe and certain.

It is strange that ingenious men, who meet with so many things unintelligible in Nature, will have nothing to be so in Religion! They will submit to Philoso­phical proofs and Mathematical demonstrations, which are at most but natural Evidences, and will reject the greatest and most certain Evidence, which is Faith. Nothing can take them from reasoning, and nothing will bring them to believe. Whether the thing is, is the Question? How it is, does not at all belong to us. How the Father communicates his Es­sence to the Son; How the Holy Ghost proceeds from both; How three Persons subsist in the same Divine Nature, can be no part of our inquiry. If we can but be satisfy'd that God has so reveal'd himself to us, that he is God, that in that Deity which is one, there are three equally adorable Persons; we have nothing to do with the How? Let us adore and believe the thing, and reserve the manner to a better and a happier life, where we shall know even as we are also known, 1 Cor. 13.12.

Those Reverend Persons, who out of condescensi­on to querulous men, have undertaken to give Expli­cations of the Trinity in Unity, never pretended to go further. They never thought that this could be Geometrically prov'd. They built upon the Re­velation, and endeavour'd to find every one that way which seem'd to them the aptest to reconcile what these Gentlemen call Contradictions: But left the thing it self as incomprehensible, and relying on his Authority who reveal'd it. The Socinians are not candid in the matter. They endeavour to disprove the Athanasian Creed. They pretend to answer the late Archbishop, the Bishops of Worcester and Sarum; They ridicule Dr. Wallis. They insult the Dean of Paul's. They are rude to Dr. South, but still are cla­morous about the How can it be? and are not serious in proving that it is not.

These Gentlemen have pretended, that by denying the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, they make the Scripture plain, intelligible and obvi­ous to the meanest capacities. They think after this to have remov'd all those difficulties, which the Cler­gy call Mysteries, but are not so in themselves. In the impartial account of the word Mystery; pag. 3. By the means of Mystery, Divines have made Re­ligion a very difficult thing, that is, an Art which Christians are not able to understand: and thereby they raise themselves above the common Christians, and are made necessary to the People, improving that Art to their own benefit. Passing by the inci­vility of the reflexion, I dare affirm, that denying the Divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, nothing is easie, nothing is plain in Religion: That the Scrip­ture is the darkest Book that ever was written: and that no Christian can find the satisfaction of his mind, and the peace of his conscience.

It may be said with a great deal of truth, that the stream of the Scriptures runs that way: that the belief of the Holy Trinity and the union of the two natures in Christ is the Key to all difficulties: and that distinction so much laught at by these Gentlemen, of one thing said of him as God, and of another as Man, which has been us'd by all the Fathers, is the only method to come to the Knowledge of the truth. This will be prov'd by the reading of both Testaments. For if those things are spoken of Christ which can relate to none but Man, and at the same time those things are spoken of him, which belong to none but to God; shall we presume to separate what God has united? shall we run to the extreams of the Old Hereticks, who would not admit of a real humane nature in Christ, and offer'd an incredible violence to all those texts which represent him as a Man; Or as the So­cinians, who denying his Divinity, put to the torture all those places, which speak of him as God.

To take off at once the authority of the Old Testa­ment and make ineffectual those glorious predictions of Christ, which tell us what he was before he was in the World; They confidently assert in the brief History, pag. 22. That the more learned and Judi­cious Trinitarians confess, that the [...]rinity, and the Divinity of the Lord Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, are not indeed taught in the Scriptures of the Old Testament; but are a revelation made in the new. Nay 'tis the more general opinion of the Divines of all sects and perswasions. They cite for this some Authors, and amongst them Tertulian, adversus Prax. Which I would beg of them to read more exactly. It is the fault of these Gentlemen, to be vastly large in their citations, and to pretend to have Authors of their side who are really against them. The mistakes I hope are not willful, but they are somewhat frequent. Neither the ancient or modern Doctors ever said that the Old Testament had nothing in it, by which Men might be induc'd to the notice of a Trinity of persons in God, and of the Divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. They have said indeed that the Jews had no explicite or clear Knowledge, nor no explicite or direct belief of those mysteries: Which is true; The revelation of the Trinity in Ʋnity being the previledge of the Gospel, and a considerable part of that Grace and truth which came by Christ Jesus. Joh. 1.18. No Man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declar'd him.

How could the Old Testament be the form of, and the introduction to the new, if those truths were not adumbrated in the one, which are clearly reveal'd, and explain'd in the other? How comes it to be a maxim receiv'd amongst the Old Jewish Doctors, that whatsoever is recorded in the Law, in the Prophets, and in the sacred Books, Indicant sapientiam; point at [Page 13]Christ, the ineffable Wisdom or Word? How does St. Paul lay this as an Aphorism, Rom. 10.4. Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believes? How comes he before Agrippa and Festus, so­lemnly to declare that he says nothing, but what Moses and the Prophets have assur'd should be? How come the Apostles and Evangelists to take most of their arguments from the Writings of the Prophets. St. Austin treats this at large against Faustus, lib. 12. c. 46. Eusebius, Praep. Evang. l. c. 3. St. Cyprian Praefat. ad Quirin. tells him that the sacred Writings of the Old Testament are of great use, ad prima fidei linea­menta formanda: To form the first lineaments of our Faith. Origen against Celsus, lib. 2. calls this, [...], a most strong demonstration, and Lactan­tius, Instit. lib. 5. c. 3. Disce igitur, si quid tibi cordis est, non solum idcirco à nobis Christum creditum Deum, quia mirabilia fecit, sed quia vidimus in eo facta esse omnia quae nobis annunciata sunt vaticinio Prophetarum. Be sensible then, if thou hast any honesty or conscience left, that Christ is believ'd by us to be God, not olny because he has done miraculous things, but because we have seen all the things fulfill'd in him which have been announc'd to us by the Prophets. Non igitur suo Testimonio, cui enim de se dicenti potest credi? sed Prophetarum Testimonio, qui omnia quae fecit & passus est multo ante cecinerunt, fidem Divinitatis accepit. It is not then by the Testimony which he has given of himself; for who can be believ'd who Witnesses for himself? but by the Testimony of the Prophets, who have Prophesi'd long before, all that he has done and suffer'd; He has receiv'd that Men should believe his Divinity.

The first proof which offers it self out of the Old Testament is that expression of the Almighty, Gen. 1.26. Let us make Man in our image, after our like­ness. It is undenyable that in the text as well as in the translation God is pleas'd to speak in the plural [Page 14]number. And as we cannot admitt a multiplicity of Gods in a nature which is so entirely one, so we can­not but see a kind of consultation in the Divine Persons. It is visible that God does not speak to himself, or to any created being who cannot concurr in any manner to the creation of Man, It being an incommunicable property of the Divine nature. And it is an impiety to think that God should speak in the air, and to no purpose. What is meant then by the Ʋs, but that Son by whom he made all things, and without whom nothing was made, that was made, Joh. 1.3. and that Holy Spirit which moved upon the Ja [...]e of the Waters, Gen. 1.2. This the Fathers urg'd ag [...]i [...]st the Arrians.

Th [...]se Gentlemen answer; Brief History, pag. 8. 1st. That this is done according to the customs of Princes and great persons in all languages, that is, in an oratory and figurative way. 2ly pag. 15. that God speaks to the Angels who were present not as adjutants, but spectators of his work. The presence of Angels is prov'd out of Job 38.7. This second reason is singular, and the verse to prove the presence of Angels strangely dragg'd in. But it ruins it self. For if the Angels are not adjutants to the work, How comes God to say, Let us make Man. This does not at all reach the difficulty. The first is as bad, that thi [...] is done according to the Custom of Princes. It is strange that God should have laid the Custom aside in the formation of all the rest of the Creatures, and us'd it only [...] [...]hat of Man. For to say that it is the same as v. 3. let there be light, v. 6. let there be a fir­mame [...], &c. it is only a gloss and a comment against which the sence of the words stands unmoveable. It is stranger [...] and Custom, which in its [...] the Majesty of any divine [...] in a way which to these [...] to the unity [Page 15]of his nature. I farely ask, whether it was custom which caus'd God to alter the manner of his expressi­on in all the Verses before; or else a design to speak somewhat in this, mysterious to us. The first is ground­less, and unconceivable: Therefore the last must be admitted. And this is so much the more rational, be­cause the Socinians are Men too learned not to know that the Primitive Writers, or to speak the words of a truly great Man of this Nation, all the first Writers of the Church of God have expresly attributed the Creation of Man to the Son, and have brought in the Father, speaking thus to him, Let us make Man. Not to multi­ply citations, read Orig. cont. Cels. l. 2.

In Gen. 3.22. is another place of the same nature, and to the same design. The Man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. I think, that custom of Princes has nothing to do here. Those little Pedantical eva­sions are too mean for the weight of the expression. If there is but one Person in the Divine Nature, how comes the Ʋs so emphatically? Why, say those Gen­tlemen in the page cited, Onkelos, and Oleaster, ren­der the words more truly, The Man is become one, knowing of himself good and evil. Grotius not trusting to this, would have God speak here to Angels. Thus a groundless supposition is made a solid answer to a translation universally receiv'd before any of these Di­sputes. I humbly conceive, that the Irony us'd in that place has no force, if the knowledge here spoken of, is not that Primitive, Essential Knowledge which be­longs only to God; which Man's ambitious designs aim'd at, and of which neither he nor Angels are ca­pable of, v. 5. You shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil, which is to say just nothing, if this consists in the sad experience of his misfortune, and not in the rashness of his undertaking.

The book of Job is certainly a part of the Old Testa­ment, and St. Austin in an Epistle to St. Jerom calls [Page 16] Job deservedly a Prophet. In the 19.25, 26, 27. he ex­presses himself thus. I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my Skin Worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. The old Latin Interpreter reads, Deum meum, my God; Whom I shall see for my self, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. I pass over that most solemn and elegant Preface more lasting than the rock on which he wishes the assertion to be written. 1st. The Holy man draws an argument of comfort in the deepest of his afflictions from the thoughts of another and a better life. 2ly. He looks upon him who is able to save to the uttermost not only them that come after, but all them also who are gone before him. 3ly. He is satisfi'd that he lives who will redeem him from the pains that he lyes under; who knows his innocence because he is the searcher of the hearts. 4ly. He asserts a final judgment wherein justice will be done to all men, who shall rise from their graves and be clothed with flesh to receive it. 5ly. He avers that he who lives now, though invisible, will become visible, and be their Judge in that great day. 6ly. He is now only the object of his know­ledge and faith; but then he shall be the object of his sense. He shall see him. 7ly. He who is now invisible, but shall be visible then, he calls His God, the ground of his hope, and indeed of all his confi­dence. This is so positive that it is capable of no allegory, but only of a litteral sence. That this is spoken of Christ is agreed by the old Rabbins. That it is understood of Jesus is the opinion of most Chri­stian Interpreters. That that God who is represented here as living according to the noble and usual expres­sion of Scripture, which cannot be apply'd to Moses, Solomon, or any of them who are call'd Gods, will stand as a judge, and be seen by men in their Flesh, and be beheld with their eyes, is not the Father, is [Page 17]consented to on all hands. It must then be the Son, who in the union of the two natures is the Redeemer: Who as God is known to live, and to inhabit Eternity: Who in the fullness of Times has appear'd in the flesh, and obtained to be at the end of the World the judge of the quick and dead.

It may be objected to this that Grotius, for these Gentlemen look upon an objection not to be answer­able, if it has but the name of Grotius, is positive, that the Jews never understood this text of the resur­rection of the dead. How this learned man comes to be mistaken is strange to me: But that he is so, may invincibly be made to appear from the body of the Jewish Writers.

What is taken out of the Book of Psalms to prove the Divinity of Jesus Christ, has so much the more force, because most of it is appli'd to the same pur­pose by the writers of the New Testament. This gives these proofs a double authority, and fully deter­mines their sence. Nor can any other be put upon them then that in which they are taken by them whom we all acknowledge to be inspir'd.

This is so natural and carries so much self-evidence along with it, that I cannot hear without a deep a­stonishment Hugo Grotius saying, that those Prophecies, Non in vim argumenti propriè adhiberi, sed ad illustrandam, atque confirmandam rem jam creditam. That they are not properly arguments to make us believe, but a sort of illustrations, and confirmations of a truth already believ'd. I thought those excesses buri'd long since with Theo­dore of Mopswest, Anathematis'd on that very account by the Fathers of the fifth General Council, and Faustus the Manichee so often confounded by St. Au­stin. I was glad to hear, Observat. on Dr. Wallis's four Letters, pag. 16. That those Gentlemen do not profess to follow Socinus, but the Scripture: that if Socinus has at any time spoken erroneously, or unad­visedly, [Page 18]or Hyperbolically, tis not Socinus who is their Master, but Christ; yet after all they espouse the same enormity in the brief Hist. pag. 16, 17. and lay this as a rule.—Nothing is more usual with the Writers of the New Testament, than to apply to the Lord Christ in a mystical, or allegorical sence, what has been said by the Writers of the Old Testa­ment, of God, or any other, in the litteral and primary sence of the words. This they do as often as there is any likeness between the Persons, or things, or events—He that shall read the Thalmud, or o­ther Rabbinical Writings, will see that the Apostles took this way of Interpreting from the Writers of the Jewish Nation. For as often as the Jewish Rabbins met with any event, or thing, or Person like to what is recorded in some place of the Old Testament, they said, that place was fullfill'd, or was again fullfill'd; and accommodated immediately the words of such Scripture to that Person, event, or thing.

If this be receiv'd it is a folly to pretend to reason, or to dispute. First, Though there are some Pro­phecies of Christ which may admit of a litteral sence, yet several are capable of none, and in those that do, the mystical is alwayes principally intended.

Secondly, The Apostolical Writers are by all sides suppos'd to be inspir'd; and could not by chance ap­ply to Christ those places of the Old Testament which discover him to us. When the spirit of God applies positively this or that text to Christ; It shews that this or that text, whatsoever litteral sence might ap­pear in it, was the principal sence and only design of the Prophecy.

Thirdly, The Apostles and Evangelists never pre­tended to prove Jesus to be Messias, the Son of God, by way of allusion and allegory, or by an occasional fulfilling of Prophecies: But by a real, palpable, entire, and noble way of accomplishing in him what had been Prophesi'd of Old.

Fourthly, It had been a strange undertaking in the A­postles, to pretend to shew Prophecies fulfill'd in Christ; if these Prophecies had not been known and publick to the World, and principally directed to be fulfill'd in him. If all is occasional, what makes St. Paul, to tell the Ephesians? ch. 2. v 20. That they are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; and Origen against Cels. lib. 1. lay this as a principle, that it is, [...], The grea­test of all the arguments by which the faith of Christ can be prov'd.

If people durst allow themselves not to be serious in so grave a dispute; How would the Notion be ex­pos'd of Men suppos'd and granted to be divinely in­spir'd, Who should write after the Thalmud and the Rabbinical Writers?

The first proof then of another Person in the Trinity, and understood of Christ by the Apostles, is Psal. 2.7. The Lord has said to me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as a consequence of this, Ask of me and I shall give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth, for thy possession. The Author of the brief Hist. pag. 15. understands this only of Christ being begotten to a new life, the day of his resurrection, and by it acquiring the title of the Son of God. He pretends to prove it by Act. 13.33. God has fullfill'd the same, in that he has rais'd up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And Indeed that sence would appear very plain if there were not a double objection against it. 1st. If there were no place in the Scripture that did assert a Generation of Christ before his resurrection. 2ly. If the Apostle himself did not cite this very place in another sence. For the first, These Gentlemen them­selves agree that Christ was the Son of God and begot­ten [Page 20]of him from the Moment of his Incarnation: That he was declar'd to be so, Matt. 3.17. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleas'd: and that the name is given him every where in Scripture before his sufferings. This mightily blunts the answer: For if this day I have begotten thee be no more in the sence of the A­postle than this day I have made thee my Son, by raising thee to a new life, Christ receives nothing new by it, since he was, and was declar'd even in their opinion to be so before. But it will be quite o­verthrown, if we consider that the same Prophet, Ps. 110. appli'd by the Jews to the Messias, and by the sacred Writers to Christ, and so positively urg'd by Christ himself, that Matt. 22.46. No man was able to answer him a word, nor durst any man from that time forth ask him any more questions; I say, that the Prophet speaks thus. v. 3. in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the Morning thou hast the dew of thy youth. Which is not only before the resurrection, but even before the World. But if it is read according to the old Latin Translation, which the learned World and these very Gentlemen reverence so much, Ante Luciferum genui te: I have begotten thee before the Morn­ing star was; which place was so read by Justin Martyr against Trypho, and by Tertullian lib. 5. contr. Marcion, The sence of the Apostle cannot be, that he was the Son of God, and begotten by him by rising to a new life.

For the second, The Apostle cites the same Scrip­ture in another sence, and this twice. 1st. Heb. 1.5. 2ly. Heb. 5.5. The one to prove that he was much better than the Angels, and had a far more glorious name: The other to evince that he glorifi'd not him­self to be made a High Priest: Treating of the one without any relation to his resurrection: and as for the other it is agreed from all hands, to have preceed­ed it, Christ being made our High Priest, not by rising from the dead; but by offering on the Cross the Sa­crifice of himself.

The sence then of the Apostle can be no other than this, That Christ in his resurrection did eminently ap­pear to be the Son of God. That his resurrection is a splendid declaration of the Divinity of his Nature, And that as his sufferings spoke him to be really Man, loaden with our infirmities, and dying for our Sins; so his resurrection from the dead declar'd him to be God. This Tertullian expresses elegantly in these words, advers. Jud. c. 12. Aspice universas na­tiones de voragine erroris humani exinde emergentes ad Dominum Deum Creatorem, & ad Deum Christum ejus. Et si audes, nega Prophetatum, statim tibi promissio patris occurrit in Psalmis, dicens, Filius meus es tu, ego bodie genui te. Look upon all the Nations of the earth, arising out of the Gulph of Men's errors to the Lord God the Creator, and to the God his Christ. And if thou dar'st, deny the Prophecy, Immediately the promise presents it self to thee in the Psalms, saying thou art my Son, this day I have begot­ten thee.

The 6, and 7. v. Of the 45 Psalm run thus. Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever: The Scepter of thy kingdom is a right Scepter, or a Scepter of Justice. Thou lovest righteousness and hatest iniquity. Therefore God, Thy God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy Fellows. That this is spoken of the Messias is the unanimous assertion of the ancient Jews. The Chaldee Paraprhase interprets the second verse, Thy beauty, O Messias the King, exceeds that of the Sons of Men. Their consent is so general in this, that they ne­ver so much as dream'd of Solomon in this. Aquila reads it in the Vocative Case, [...], &c. The Apostle has not accommodated, or appli'd it to Christ, as these Gentlemen are pleas'd to speak: But has cited, and understood it as a direct Prophecy of the Holy Jesus. Heb. 1.7, 8. His design is to shew that Christ is above all that is created; and because in created beings we know nothing greater than the [Page 22]Angels, He says, v. 4. That he is so much better than the Angels, that he has by inheritance obtain'd a more excellent name than they. I hope that by the name of Angels it will not be deny'd that their being and na­ture is express't according to the Dialect of Scripture. Or else, What signifies the distinction of inheriting a name, or a name by inheritance, from a name given? What the Angels are is by the favour and gift of the Creator: what Christ is, is by nature and inheritance. He shews then of the Angels, v. 7. what is their name, what they are: He makes his Angels spirits, and his Ministers a flame of fire. v. 8. He brings in God speaking to Christ as to his Son, discovering his na­ture, his name by inheritance. But to the Son he says, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever.

To this these Gentlemen Answer in the brief Hist. pag. 16. That the words are litterally spoken of Solomon, and mystically of Christ. That this is the opinion of Grotius. But that whether they are spo­ken litterally of Solomon, and mystically of Christ, neither Christ, nor Solomon are here call'd God. The place being ill translated: The Hebrew and the Greek importing no more than this, God is thy Throne, that is thy resting place, or establishment for ever and ever.

I began to admire how these Gentlemen deny that Solomon is here call'd God, who, when we prove that Christ is call'd God in many places of Scripture, have made this answer almost thredbare, that he is call'd God as Solomon is here, and Moses, Exod. 7.1.

But they unsay this again and are somewhat larger in the answer to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 8. They cite Grotius who makes this Psalm to be an Epithalamium sung by the maids to Solomon and Sulamitis the Daugh­ter of the King of Egypt. They say, That we catch at the word God, as if the Psalmist, and the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews spoke of such a Person, [Page 23]as is truly and really God. That we should note that Christ tells us, Joh. 10.35. That those also are call'd Gods in Scripture to whom the word of God comes. That Solomon in this Psalm is saluted by the Name of God according to the known language of those times and Countries to Magistrates and Princes.

But after all, the place of the Hebrews is so pressing that they pass from accomodation and application, and are willing to allow that he interprets the words of Christ, because The Psalm being compos'd by a Pro­phetical Poet, at the same time that he courted and prais'd Solomon, He might Prophecy of Christ: That this account is approv'd by the most learned Criticks.

One would have expected from men of learning some­what more solid. When we say that Christ is call'd God, we are so far from catching at the word God, that we maintain it to be after a manner so peculiar to the most high God, that it is applicable to no Man; and that what the Prophet say's, and the Apostle af­ter him, is visible to the meanest capacity, can be said neither of Moses, or Solomon, or any Prince or Magi­strate. The business of the Epithalamiums and the custom of the Eastern People are pretty little imagi­nations. That it is not render'd according to the Hebrew, or the Greek, is notoriously suppos'd. The Interpretation of Grotius is both senceless, and false. It is senceless; For what addition is it to the Messias, that God is his resting place? Is he not so to all good men? Are not our Souls made perfect by his grace committed into his hands, as unto a faithful Creator, to become Eternally happy? It is false, and that vi­sibly too, by the reading of the next verse. Therefore, O God, Thy God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. I read, O God. For thus Eusebius demons. Evang. lib. 4. Orig. con. Cels. lib. 1. St. Jerom Epis. 140. have prov'd, that it ought to be read, both from the nature of the thing, and the letter of the [Page 24]sacred Text. St. Austin in his Exposition on this very Psalm, which in the old Interpreter is the 44th, is positive, that this is manifest from the Greek. This has caus'd several learned men to think, that what is written in the Septuagint, [...] was formerly written, [...]. Though Eusebius in the place already cited makes it evident from many unquestionable Texts of Scripture; that the [...], answers fully the [...], which we have said is the sence of the place, and the reading of Aquila.

As for Criticks, I highly honour them who have really endeavour'd to find out the true sence of the difficult places of Scripture. I own Grotius in particular to have been a Man of great learning; But to criticise in Texts which are plain and easie, and to torture the words of the Holy Writers, to make them bear with notions altogether new and unknown to antiqui­ty, I think to be insufferable.

I am perswaded that this Psalm was never intend­ed for Solomon by the argument of the ancient Jews; that the 3, 4, and 5. verses which represent a fighting and a conquering Prince, can never be made to agree to one whose name expresses, and whose life was spent in a profound peace.

The 110 Psalm is understood of the Messias by the Thargum and most of the old Rabbins. That it was so by the Jews in Christ's time appears by his publick appealing to the authority of this Psalm. That it is an eminent Prophecy of Christ is evident by his own assertion, Matt. 22.43, 44. St. Peter proves from thence that he is both Lord and Christ, Acts. 2.34, 35, 36. The Author of the Epistle to the Heb. draws from thence most of his Arguments, Heb. 1.13. and 5.6, 20. and 7.1. and fol. ver. And indeed offer no violence to the Psalm, but take what it plainly presents, It looks more like a revelation of the new, then a Pro­phecy of the old dispensation.

The first verse expresses clearly the Divinity of J. C. [Page 25]The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand. One Divine Person is reveal'd to David speaking to another, The Lord, saying to My Lord. The argu­ment of Christ is irrefragable. If the Christ is no more than the Son of David; If he has no other nature than that which he draws from him, How comes God to call him Lord in that revelation which he made of him? The second verse shews his regal dig­nity, that power which he has over all. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Sion, rule thou in the midst of thy enemies. The third, his pre-existence be­fore all created beings, and consequently a being in God and from God, which can be no other way than by a communication of the Divine Essence. From the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth. Or as the old Latin Interpreter, St. Chrysostom on this Psalm, St. Jerom on the 22. of Matt. Ante Luciferum genui te. Before the morning Star was, I have begotten thee. The fourth, his Eternal Priesthood; Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedeck: Where­in is impli'd that intercession, mediation, and sacri­fice of himself, which had he been no more than a meer Man, must have been ineffectual.

These Gentlemen take no notice of the 2, and 4. verse, and in my opinion answer strangely the 1st, and the 3d. What they say to the 1st, in the brief Hist. pag. 18. consists in this; 1st, That the words of our Saviour are, David in Spirit calls him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto, &c. That is, David in the spirit of Prophecy foreseeing Christ, calls him his Lord, not because Christ is God, for then himself could have made his enemies his foot-stool. But because not only the spirit of David, and of all Saints, but even Angels were to be made subject to him as the reward of his most holy life and obsequi­ous and acceptable death. 2ly. That when the Psalmist says, The Lord said unto my Lord, it is to [Page 26]be understood thus, The Lord has in his decree said, or he has decreed it shall be so.

I appeal to themselves whether this is to answer, or only elude an objection? For it is notorious that the spirit in which David speaks is the spirit of Pro­phecy. David being a Prophet speaks what God has reveal'd to him. It is false that he calls Christ his Lord, or that he speaks to Christ. He calls Christ Lord, sayes our Saviour, but not his Lord. This is a real mistake, and the reason given for it of the spirit of David, of Saints, of Angels made subject to him is another. He must speak of Christ as God, or else the Prophecy says nothing. The Lord in one place is of the same im­portance and signification as the Lord in the other. Neither the words, nor the sence, nor our Saviour give to David any other part in the Prophecy, but the relating that the Lord, the Father, has said to the Lord, the Son, the Christ, Sit thou on my right hand. An argument which invincibly proves the Son Coeter­nal, and coequal to the Father. Nor does the saying, till I make thy Enemies thy foot-stool, take any thing off its force, since the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15.25. Says of the Son himself, that He must reign till he has put all Ene­mies under his feet.

The second part of the answer, that the Lord said to my Lord, is to be understood, The Lord has said in his decree, or has decreed it shall be so, is a wild, strain'd, unnatural, and new explication. If men will give themselves the liberty thus to comment on the most express and clear Texts of Scripture, nothing can be sacred, or certain in Religion. Our Saviour asks the Pharisees, Matt. 2.24. What they think of Christ, whose Son is he? They answer him plainly, The Son of David. Christ replies again, How then does David call him Lord? If he is no more then the Son of David, How does David declare him to be Lord; and this by the greatest authority in the World, even [Page 27] the Lord calling him so. If he is the Son of David without running to a decree, which indeed should ra­ther be admitted here, then he is without a decree the Lord, being as much the one by nature as the other. These Gentlemen are desir'd to produce any one of the Fathers or ancient Writers who has understood this place of any such imaginary decree.

The third verse is so pressing that all they have to say to it, is that both the place is obscure and the many versions made of it. They like that of Castalio best, which cuts the Gordian knot and substitutes o­ther words and sence to that of the Prophet. I think that the Greek is very clear, the old Latin very clear, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, St. Chrysostom, St. Jerom, St. Austin, and most of the Fathers very clear, who have read as we have said before, and are to prefer'd to a version as new and as inconsiderable as its Author.

In the ninth Chapter of Isaias v. 6, 7. We have these words, Ʋnto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the Government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be call'd Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. That they are a Prophecy of the Messias, The Chaldee Paraphrase and several learned Jews have positively asserted. From them Eusebius, Basil the great, Theodoret, St. Cyrill, Procopius, St. Jerom, and the generality of the Fathers have prov'd the Divinity of Christ. And indeed those Epithets which make up the character of this Son that is given can become no creature. They are all the names which belong to God, and by them as he reveal'd himself to men. Which of the Sons of men can be wonderfull, or secret, mysterious? as the Angel expresses the name of God to Manoah, Jud. 13.18. Which can be the Councellor, the Director, the Guide, the light from whence all Wis­dom is deriv'd? Which can be the mighty God, the God of strength and power? Which can be the Everlasting [Page 28]Father, or, as St. Jerom reads, the Father of the age to come: that is, The Author and giver of immortality? Which can be the peaceable Prince, or the Prince of peace, in whose hands is our present or Eternal peace? In a word, to which of us mortals can any of those Emphatical expressions be attributed without absurdi­ty, or Blasphemy?

To this those Gentlemen answer, Brief Hist. pag. 20th. 1st. That this can be no Prophecy since Isaias speaks of a Prince actually born, and the Prophet liv'd 700 Years before Christ. 2ly. That this Text is never appli'd to Christ by the Writers of the New Testament. 3ly. That the Text is to be understood of Hezekiah. 4ly. That it is extravagantly render'd into English. In the answer to Mr. Milbourn they say almost the same things; only add this flourish; That they affect no monstrosities, but are govern'd by the obvious reason and possibilities of things.

For the 1st, That it can be no Prophecy since it speaks of a Prince actually born, is to suppose that which ought to be prov'd, and can never be certainly made out. But granting that it can; have these Gen­tlemen forgot what they said in their answer to an authority of the 45. Ps. 6, 7. That the Prophetical Poet at the same time that he prais'd and courted Solo­mon, who was certainly then actually born, might also Prophesy of Christ. A Prince then may be actually born, and what is said of him may also be a Prophecy. St. Austin against Faustus lib. 12. cap. 46. pretends and really in a very solid way of reasoning, that not only the Prophets did announce Christ: But the very Nati­on of the Jews, that very People, their very govern­ment and administration were all a Prophecy. Per Pro­pheticam gentem, per Propheticum populum, per Pro­pheticum regnum, and yet the one actually in being, the other actually born before Christ.

For the 2d, That this Text is never appli'd to [Page 29]Christ in the New Testament; should this be granted, the Text would still preserve its Authority. Our Adversaries are Presons of too much learning to pre­tend that there is no Prophecy of Christ in the Old, but what is appli'd to him in the New Testament. But we may say, that there is not a Text oftner and more fully to be met with, than this in the New Testament. For tho' it is not formally cited as some others are; yet every part of it is found in the Wri­tings of the Apostles. The Prophet says, that he is wonderful, secret, Mysterious. St. Paul says, Eph. 1.26, 27. That he is the Mystery, which has been hid from Ages and Generations, but now is made manifest, to his Saints. The Prophet calls him the Councellor. The A­postle says Colos. 2.3. That in him are hid all the trea­sures of Wisdom and knowledge. We believe says Origen, lib. 3. adv. Celsum. [...] from the very beginning of Christianity, of this our Jesus, that he is God, and the Son of God, the very Word itself, the very Wisdom itself, the very Truth itself. The Pro­phet says, that he is the mighty God, or the God of strength; St. Joh. Rev. 5.12. assures, that power, strength, glory, and honour are his. The Prophet calls him the Everlasting Father, or, as St. Jerom, The Father of the Age to come. The Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. 5.9. calls him the Author of Eternal salva­tion. The Prophet says, that he is the Prince of Peace. The Apostle stiles him, Eph. 2.14. Our Peace who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of par­tition between us.

For the 3d, That this Text is to be understood of Hezekias; These Gentlemen should have taken notice that St. Jerom has invincibly prov'd on Isay. 7.14. that this Prophecy of a child that is born, and of Son that is given, can by no means agree with Hezekias, who at the taking of Samaria, by the Assyrians, was one and thirty Years old. A difficulty which cannot be [Page 30]overcome, and was overseen by the learned Grotius, from whom thy have borrow'd the objection.

For the 4th, That it is extravagantly render'd into English: Then the Septuagint are very extravagant, who, contrary to these Gentlemens assertions, who deny that they read the mighty God, have in all the Editions that I have seen, [...], The strong, the mighty God. Then St. Irenaeus is extravagant who reads it thus, lib. 4. c. 66. Then is the great Ignatius extrava­gant who cites it after the same manner, Epist. ad An­tioch. Both these Fathers writing long before any of these Disputes. Then is Procopius extravagant, who on this very place is positive that the word [...] was to be found in his time in the best co­pies of the Septuagint; and more extravagant again to assert on Isay. 10.21. that the words mighty God, in that verse, of which there is no controversie, and are undoubtedly spoken of God, are in the Hebrew, and Greek, the self same as in this place. Then Theodoret one of the most learned of the Fathers, and one of the best Criticks is strangely extravagant, who accuses Aqui­la of falsification in rendering the Hebrew without the word God. Then Eusebius up and down in the Books of the demonstration, who reads as we do, and all the Fathers of the Latin Church after their own Interpre­ter, who have render'd it thus, not to speak of most translations, are wildly extravagant.

What becomes then of the flourish? Who affects monstrosities? Who is govern'd by the obvious reason and possibility of things? These Gentlemen or we? Is it not more candid and natural, more possible and rational to receive and submit to a plain Text of Scripture, understood as we do by the pious and learn­ed part of mankind; then to strain, and sweat, and drag in rash criticisms and unnatural explications to bring in a Doctrine monstruous and impossible, the meer Humanity of J. Christ.

In the 11th. of Isaias is a magnificent description of the Messias, and own'd to be such by the Rabbins. It is lookt upon as a proof of his Divinity by most Anci­ent and Modern Interpreters.

The 1st verse is a Prophecy of his coming into the World, and taking our nature. There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots. Which the Apostle Act. 13. v. 23. has shew'd to be verifi'd. Of this man's seed has God according to his promise rais'd unto Israel a Saviour Jesus. The 3, 4, 5. Verses open the ends of his coming into the World. The 6, 7, 8, 9. are the happy effects of his Incarnation: The infinite blessings of joy, peace and security adumbrated by the combining toge­ther of the most feroce and brutish, with the mildest and fearfullest Creatures. The 10th is a con­clusion of the whole, and sets before us the Holy Je­sus as the hope of all Nations. He shall stand for an ensign of the People, to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. What can the seeking of the Gentiles, and that glorious rest be, but the addresses of men to him in their humblest adorations; The sending of their Prayers to the throne of his Grace: Their con­fidence that there is no name under Heaven but his, by which they can be sav'd. This explication is not mine, But St. Paul's, who Rom. 15.12. reading this Text after the Septuagint, says, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust. This is not catching at the word God. But I would fain be satisfi'd, If Christ is not God, If he is no more than a meer Creature, whe­ther to hope in him, to trust, that is, to put all our confidence in him, as the Prophet says we shall, and the Apostle we ought to do, is not a most damnable Idolatry.

These Gentlemen having taken no notice of this Text have said nothing to it. They may consult [Page 32] Grotius their Friend in distress, who against invincible reasons, the express Authority of the Apostle, and the sence of Christian Interpreters explains this Text of Hezekiah.

What can be more positive than the 35. of Isai. v. 4. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence, he will come and save you. The fifth verse is a character of his coming which no mortal can personate. Your God will come with miraculous works, with a divine energy, he will give sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, &c. To Christ do all the Writers of the New Testament give Witness that he has done all this, and that at the same time that he took upon him the form of a servant, and the miseries of a laborious life. Christ himself took no other way to convince the Baptist, Matt. 11.4, 5, 6. that he was the expected Saviour, then a lively application of this Text to his disciples. Go and shew John again those things you do hear and see. The blind receive their sight, The lame walk, the lepers are cleans'd, The deaf hear, The dead are raised up, the Poor have the Gospel preach't to them. He is God that should come; He is God that should do this. Christ is come and has done all this, What consequence is more natural than that he is truly God?

To this these Gentlemen answer, Brief Hist. pag. 20. 1st. That it does not appear that our Saviour intended to quote the words of the Prophet. 2ly. That ad­mitting he did, God is only said to come to the Jews in his Ambassador Jesus Christ. And because in him and by him he gave sight to the blind, &c. They cite for this Joh. 14.10. Act. 10.38.

To the 1st. Whether Christ intended it or not, is not at all material. What we have to do, is to prove that the Prophecy is fullfill'd in him. If it is, which is undeniable, then he is the God who was to [Page 33]come and work these miracles in the behalf of man­kind. But that he intended it, will appear not only from the exact correspondency of the Text, but also from the constant tradition of the Jews, who under­stood this place of the Messias, and from it concluded, that he was to work Miracles. It was natural there­fore in the Baptist, who could not be ignorant of Christ's stupendous conception, by which he was design'd to his Miraculous performances, to send and ask whether he was he that was to come? and as na­tural to Christ to give John no other answer than that those things were done by him, by which the World was to be convinc'd that the Messias was come.

The 2d. that God is come to the Jews in his Am­bassador and Messenger Christ Jesus, is a flat denyal to an express Text. The Prophet speaks of an im­mediate coming, of a personal appearance, of a Mighty expectation through the whole world. He who is to come, to appear, to remove that expectation by his glorious presence, is call'd our God. Our God shall come, he shall come. If this be no more than to appear by his Messenger, a less Prophet would have serv'd the turn. Such vehement and positive expres­sions can never agree with so poor a shift. Nor is it at all reconcilable with the opinion of the Jews, who were so far perswaded that the Messias was a divine person, and that he was the God spoken of here, that several of their Doctors have thought, from the last verse of this Chapter, that he should actually deliver them who were already in the place of Eternal Torments.

But what an unlucky strain is the citation of Joh. 14.10. The Father that dwells in me he does the works. And Act. 10.38. God was with him. Who doubts that God was present to the Holy Jesus? who doubts that God was with him, since we contend, with all the Fathers and Doctors of the Christian Church, that the [Page 34]Eternal word of the Father assum'd his nature. The citation of St. John absolutely destroys what they would infer from it. Christ tells his Disciples that if they had known him, they had known the Father also. Philip upon this begs, that he would shew them the Father. Christ Answers, he that has seen me has seen the Father. He gives presently the reason of the Answer. I am in the Father, and the Father in me. That is, there is in us a distinction of Persons; He is the Father, I am the Son. There is an Unity of nature, I am in him, and he is in me. This is not my own Assertion. The Father that dwels in me, he does the works. The works that the Father does in me, are a proof of what I say. He resumes the whole Argument. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me. Or else believe me for the very works sake. Believe me, who say, that it is so with us. But if thou will not believe upon my own Authority be convinc'd by those Miraculous Operations which are an invincible proof of what I say.

The 40th Chapter of Isaias is to the same purpose, only it seems more plain and express. It has besides the unanimous consent of the Jews, who understand it to be a Prophecy of the Messias. Christ is represen­ted here as our God in such expressions as shew the whole Oeconomy of the Gospel, and are applicable to no Mortal Man. So great a truth is usher'd in with a splendid Preface, Verse 3, 4, 5. by which the four Evangelists have prov'd the Mission of John the Bap­tist, the foreruner of Christ; in which we have the advantage, that the proof of the one is a proof of the other. O Jerusalem that bringest good tidings, lift up thy Voice with strength ...... say to the Cities of Judah, behold your God. Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand ...... He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, He shall gather the Lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom. Christ then is the Lord God seen by the [Page 35]Cities of Judah. To him the character of strength does agree, who was to conquer the Prince of this World. Joh. 12.31. To him does that of the Shep­herd answer exactly, who said of himself, Joh. 10.11. I am the good shepherd; of whom St. Paul said, Heb. 13.20. that he is the great shepherd of the sheep. and St. Peter, 1. pet. 2.25. The shepherd and Bishop of our Souls. Nor can it be so much as pretended here, that God came in his Ambassador and Messenger Christ Jesus. That wild notion has not so much as the least place here. The Lord God, who was to come, was to be seen by the Cities of Judah. He was to be pre­ceded, and have his ways prepar'd by the Illustrious Forerunner. The Baptist who was invested in that glorious office was on that very account call'd, Luk. 2.67. The Prophet of the Highest. Let any one compare candidly these expressions, The Lord God, and the Highest. Esay says, the Lord God will come. Zacharias says, And thou child shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways. The Baptist was the immediate Prophet of Christ. Christ was the Lord whose ways he was to prepare. That Lord is the Highest whose Prophet he was, and the Lord God, who was to be seen, and whose ways were to be prepar'd. This is another place which these Gentlemen have taken no notice of, and so have said nothing to it.

The 45th of Esay is wholly taken up to prove the unity of the divine nature. v. 6.18, 22. I am the Lord and there is none else, I am God and there is none else, opposing in this the vanity, and multiplicity of the Gods of the Heathen. As a consequence of that Unity, the Almighty challenges the praises and ado­rations of all his Creatures. v. 23. I have sworn by my self—that unto me every Knee shall how and every tongue shall swear. This is so essential a prerogative of the Divine Majesty, that to apply our selves to any crea­ture [Page 36]is a Sin; To adore any other being is an invasi­on of his right over us. It is to multiply, and con­sequently, as much as lyes in us, to destroy the Deity: Therefore either Christ is God, or St. Paul a writer divinely inspir'd contradicts all this. Since Rom. 14.10, 11. he layes down as a fundamental truth, that we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every Knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. God alone then is the object of our Religion. To bow to any other, to praise, or adore any other, for this is the sence of confessing here, is Impiety, Sacrilege, and Idolatry. And yet St. Paul assures us, that there is a time where Christ is publickly, and solemnly to receive the praises and adorations of all Men. Therefore Christ must be God, and even that God, who says positively that he is God, and that besides him there is none else.

The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 20. has as odd a sort of an Answer to this as was that of God's com­ing into the World by his Ambassador Christ. He tells us that, Christ indeed is to be a judge, but not as God: But only acting by a Commission from God. That Men will appear before him as we do before the judges of the land, who act in the name of our sovereign Lord the King.

This witty shift is perhaps one of the most unrea­sonable things in the World. It is true that the honour paid to the judges here is resolv'd into the Authority from whence their power is deriv'd. But Christ is judge as he is God. He does that which no Man can do by Commission, and it is the great qualification of the most Hight, to search the Hearts, try the Reins, and to have darkness as light as the day. None but God can find the evidence in the heart of the Guilty. He must be Omniscient and Omnipresent who opens the secrets of the hearts of all Men, and [Page 37]calls them to an account for those Sins, infinite for their multitude, incredible for their variety, and in­comprehensible for their mysteriousness. This the Apostle acknowledges, and to this he appeals. 1 Cor. 4.5. Therefore judge nothing before the time, untill the Lord cometh, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart. He that is our Judge, St. John calls expresly our God, in that dreadfull description of the last day. Rev. 20.11, 12. And I saw a great white throne; and him that sat on it, from whose face the Heaven and the earth fled away, and I saw the dead great and small stand before God.

In the 23. of Jeremy both the Character and the name of the Messias, are so fully exprest, that the most famous Rabbins have oppos'd the corrupt reading which some obstinate Jews would have forc't on this Text. The Generality of Christian Interpreters, an­cient and modern, have understood it of Christ, and receiv'd the noble Prophecy, not only as a proof of his birth and office, but also of his Divinity. The 14. verse calls him a righteous Branch the usual name of the Messias in the Prophets. He is said to be rais'd to David as a great King, who shall Reign, and Pro­sper, and Execute Judgment and Justice in the Earth. In the 15. v. Salvation is promis'd by him to Judah and Israel: and to shew that this will certainly come to pass, and that nothing can prevent it, The Pro­phet tells them, who is that righteous Branch, that admirable King, who is to entail on them an Eternal peace: and this is his name whereby he shall be call'd, The Lord our righteousness. That he is to be a Man who is to effect all this, is plain from the letter and sence of the Text. He must be of the seed of David. He must execute justice and judgment upon earth. That he is God cannot be deny'd from these two ex­pressions. The one is, the Jehovah, the inessable [Page 38]name of God given him. The other, our righteousness, a title which no creature can pretend to. As a confir­mation of this, read Daniel 9.24. where the coming of the Messias is express'd by bringing in Everlasting righteousness. And 1 Cor. 1.30. Jesus Christ is made to us righteousness. If he is no more than a Creature, how can he become our righteousness, how can he bring Everlasting Righteousness? Can any Man justifie ano­ther, or procure to him an Everlasting State of Holi­ness and Blessedness? What opinion soever we may have of the greatest and best of Men, we cannot but be satisfi'd that those acts of omnipotency are above the reach of any Creature. The very sence of the corruption of our nature, the very apprehensions that we are finite beings give the lye to all those little no­tions, and we are forc't to look to the Lord The Jehovah for Pardon and Happiness.

The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 20. opposes to this; 1st, That Grotius has shew'd that the Branch here intended is Zorobabel. 2ly, That these words, This is the name whereby he shall be call'd, are spoken neither of Christ nor of Zorobabel, but of Israel. 3ly, This is prov'd by a place parallel to this, Jer. 33.15, 16. Where Jerusalem is call'd The Lord our righteousness. In those days shall Judah be sav'd, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby She shall be call'd, The Lord our righteousness.

To the 1st, Grotius has not only against him the unanimous consent of the Fathers, but he is also un­happy in this, that of all the senses that this Prophecy can bear it is not capable of that of Zorobabel. How can Zorobabel be the Branch, a name constantly ap­propriated to the Messias? Esay, 11.1. Esay, 4.2. Zech. 3.8. and the 6.12. Luk. 1.78. and never to him? How can, according to the excellent observation of Theodoret on this place, Zorobabel be a King that should actually reign and make his People for ever [Page 39]happy, who neither was a King, nor ever reign'd over the Jews, nor ever sate in the Throne of David?

To the 2d, That the name of the Lord our righteous­ness is neither given to Christ, nor to Zorobabel, but to Israel. This is another strain of Grotius, and as unsuccessful as the other. 1st, It is against the sence of the Jewish Doctors. 2ly, It is against the plain let­ter of the Hebrew. 3ly, It is against the sence of all Mankind, and these Gentlemen are not modest to pretend to impose at this dreadful rate. Is it not as clear as the Sun, that the design of this Text is to tell us what this King shall do, what he is, what he shall be call'd? Will it ever enter into any Man's head who is not quite mad, that Israel, or Judah, for if it is applicable to the one, it is also to the other, and not the Branch, the Prince is here describ'd. 4ly, It is against the true reading of the Septuagint, and the old Latin Translation.

To the 3d, that is, Jer. 33.15.16. granting the reading of the Text as it is in our Bible, which indeed the Hebrew favours, It is so far parallel to this, as to be a renewing of the promise made by God in the place already cited. The sence of the Prophet is, that Jerusalem shall be call'd the Lord our righteousness by containing him, that is, being fill'd with his glo­rious presence who is really the Lord our righteousness. As Jacob Gen. 33.20. erected an Altar and call'd it Et-elohe-Israel, God the God of Israel. And Ezek. 48.35. and the name of the City from that day shall be Jehovah shammah, the Lord is there.

But what can be more positive and home to the question than the testimony of Baruch chap. 3. the 3. last verses? This is our God, and there shall be no other accounted in comparison of him. He has found out all the way of Knowledge, and has given it to Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterwards did he shew himself upon earth and converst with Men. To [Page 40]offer an enlargment on this Text is to do it an injury. The 1st of these verses asserts the unity of God. The 2d his great wisdom and goodness to his people. The 3d his visible appearing to us in our nature; and this not by a sudden apparition, vanishing as soon as it is offer'd; and leaving the Soul in suspence a­bout the truth of the object, but by a continu'd li­ving on the Earth. If there be but one Person in God, as these Gentlemen so stiffly maintain, and that is, the Father; there must have been an Incarnation of that Person, since he has appear'd upon Earth, and convers'd with men; which they, and with a great deal of Reason, will by no means admit. But the whole Scripture says, That God has sent his Son into the World; That he has appear'd to put away Sin; and we all agree that the Holy Jesus is that Son. How then can we deny his Divinity, since it is said of him who has thus appear'd, This is our God, and there shall be no other accounted in comparison of him.

This is so express, that we must not expect to be put off with Grotius; or Christ being call'd God, as Moses, or Solomon; or the rare Notion of God co­ming to us in his Ambassadour Jesus. Nothing of this will do; and therefore the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 22. answers, first, That the Book is Apo­cryphal. Secondly, That those who admit the Book, reject those verses as suppositious. Thirdly, That the Original Greek may be render'd, Afterwards this Book of the Commandments of God, and the Law which endures for ever, was seen upon Earth, and turn'd over by men.

First, That the Book is Apocryphal, is an Answer cannot be made by these Gentlemen, because it is ci­ted against them by the whole Societies of Christians who believe it to be Canonical. But freely granting that the Book is such; I must beg leave to say, That it is nothing to the purpose. Any man of ordinary [Page 41]reading knows that Apocryphal signifies no more, than [...] Ʋncanonical, or out of the Canon of the Sacred Books. That sort of Writings, though not kept in Armario, as Tertullian expresses it, cap. 3. de hab. muli. yet were look'd upon with much reve­rence by them, and particularly by the Hellenists. They were daily in their hands, and the greatest Au­thority in the World, next to the uncontested Scri­ptures. There is a vast difference between being uncanonical and rejected; and the saying, That this Passage is taken out of an uncanonical, though a Sa­cred Book, takes nothing off the force of the Objection. These Gentlemen who are so pleas'd with Criticisms, that it will with them bear down the plainest Au­thority in the World, must give me leave to Criti­cize for once. I say then, That of all the Apocry­phal Books, none was so like to become Canonical as that of Baruch. It is somewhat more than a proba­ble Conjecture, that this Book was once read with that of Jeremy; whose Disciple Baruch was. The ninth of Daniel has lead several Learned men into that Opi­nion. For after he has cited Jeremy, v. 2. and began that fervent Prayer for the preservation of Jerusalem; He seems to transcribe Baruch. Compare Baruch 1.15, 16, 17. with Daniel 7, 8, &c. Baruch 2.7, 8, 9. with Daniel 9.13, &c. Baruch 2.11, &c. with Daniel 9.15. Baruch 2.15. with Daniel 9.18. I will add to confirm this, That several of the most ancient and Primitive Fathers have often cited Jeremy, and yet the Texts us'd by them were taken out of Baruch, which gives some ground to believe, that the Works of these two Prophets were once joyn'd together.

To the second Objection we must be forc'd to say, That no part of it is true. First, it is not true that ever those Verses were look'd upon as supposititious by them who either admitted, or rejected the Book. Secondly, it is not true that ever these words were a [Page 42]marginal Note, no ancient Copy being without them, and the rest being only Conjecture instead of Reason.

The third Objection is the highest Unsincerity imaginable. Their Translation is forc'd, unnatural, and what is worse, notoriously false. There is no­thing in the Text of a Book of Commands, or of a Law which endures for ever. There is only [...], viam disciplinae, as the Vulgar translates it. To say, not what they have pretended to impose without ei­ther Reason, or Truth; but what can be strain'd from this, That the way of Knowledge has shew'd Himself to men, and convers'd with them, is a bold and ridiculous way of Translating.

The fifth Chapter of Micah is an eminent Prophe­cy of Christ. The first part of the second Verse gives an account of his Birth, and of the place to which God had promis'd so great a Blessing. But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little amongst the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel. The second part soars higher, and tells us, That though he is born as a man, yet he has that which no man can pretend to: and though he has such a visible Being, yet he has another which is invisible and eternal; whose go­ings forth have been from old, from everlasting, or, From the days of Eternity. This Text has a double advantage: First, that the Chaldee Paraphrast, the Thalmud, and the generality of the ancient Jews have follow'd in this the sence of their Forefathers, and understood this Text of the Messiah. Secondly, that from Mat. 2.6. and Joh. 7.42. this invincibly ap­pears to have been the Tradition of the Jews; one of the great Obstacles to their Belief, that he was the Messias, having no other ground, than that con­trary to the received Opinion, That the Messias was to be a Bethlehemite, they thought the Holy Jesus a Galilean.

If then Christ is the Messias, as no Christian has yet doubted, no not these Gentlemen themselves. These things appear very plain. The one, that he is born at Bethlehem. The other, that he existed be­fore all time; from the days of Eternity. He cannot have that existence as man: for as such, it is visible that he had a beginning. He was born at Bethlehem. Therefore if he did inhabit Eternity, or if his goings have been from Eternity, before he came to be born at Bethlehem, He must be a Divine Person, and conse­quently God.

The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 21. answers, first, that the Hebrew reads from ancient days, and not, from everlasting. Grotius must also come in, or else they durst not venture upon the Interpretation. He makes the ancient days his Descent, or Pedigree, being descended of the most ancient Stock of David, of Bethlehem. Secondly, that Calvin makes the sence to be, Whose goings forth have been decreed from the days of Eternity. The Answerer to Mr. Milbourn has said the same things, only challenging him to try his skill on these Solutions.

To the first. These Gentlemen must give me leave to say, That they have done Grotius an injury. That Learned person never understood the words of the Messias, but of Zorobabel. It is no wonder then, if taking the Text to be spoken of him, he was forc'd to put an unnatural sence upon it. It is easie to run from one Errour to another. The first Errour of Grotius was to have apply'd this Prophecy of one who was to be born at Bethlehem, to one who was really born in Babylon. An Objection not to be overcome, and sudstantially propos'd by Theodoret on this place. The second was, to have strain'd the Letter of this Text to a mean and sensless Allegory. How ri­diculous is it to fansie a Descent, or a Pedigree en­larg'd upon by the Prophet, when the most ignorant [Page 44]Jew knew that the Messias was to be the Son of Da­vid? The 7. verse of the 53. of Isaias is parallel to this. Who shall declare his generation? If no more be meant by this, than that Christ is of the Seed of Da­vid, and born of a Virgin, there is no ground for such a vehement Exclamation. To be of a Race is natural to all men. To be born of a Virgin is indeed miraculous, but yet highly comprehensible, since it is easie to imagine; how he that could create a man out nothing, can produce a man without the mixture of Sexes. What is then this Generation which can­not be declar'd, because it is incomprehensible? Would it not fill any rational man with indignation, and particularly a Jew, to tell him that it is a Descent and a Pedigree, an old Stock of Nobility; and that the days of Eternity are no more than the ancient days, that is, a certain Computation of years. Where­as this Generation, or as Micah expresses it, these goings forth are before days and years; From the be­ginning, from of old, from Eternity, and consequently cannot be declar'd by any Creature.

But after all, with the leave of Grotius, and of these Gentlemen, this Text is capable of no such Transla­tion. There is a repetition in it, which must be ren­der'd, from the beginning, from everlasting, the Dia­lect of Scripture to express not the length, but the infinite duration of time. I wonder that they did not perceive, That from ancient days, and from ancient days, which is the Translation of Grotius, is both an ill sound and an ill sence.

To the second, that is, Calvin saying, That the goings forth of Christ have been decreed by God from the days of Eternity, I think to be, if possible more unreasonable than Grotius. I take what they make him say, upon their Credit. All that is not in it liable to Exception, is that the Learned man has not presum'd to alter the ancient Reading; but with all [Page 45]the Fathers, and most Translators reads From the days of Eternity. The rest contradicts it self. Had Calvin said, That God had decreed that Christ should be born at Beihlehem, as he may be said to have decreed the Event of all Prophecies, and St. Peter says, Acts 2.23. That he determined the Death of the Holy Jesus; there had been nothing in this but what is true and rational. But to say that God has decreed from Eter­nity, of one who is from Eternity; That God has decreed from Eternity his Eternal Nature, who is spoken of here in the Text, is a rare way of expres­sing ones self. To overthrow a plain and easie inter­pretation, another is substituted, which says that God has decreed from Eternity the goings forth of the Lord Christ, that is, that God has decreed from all E­ternity, that Christ should be born from all Eternity.

I cannot but admire that these Gentlemen should think their Solutions so solid, as to challenge Mr. Milbourn to try his skill on them. If they have no better Answers, I wish them well out of the hands of Dr.—

Let us pass to Haggai, who in the second Chapter of his Prophecy, v. 5. and fol. has these words: Ac­cording to the word that I covenanted with you, when you came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remains among you, fear you not. For thus says the Lord of Hosts, Yet once it is a little while, and I will shake the Heavens, and the Sea, and the dry Land, and I will shake all Nations, and the desire of all Nations shall come, and I will fill this house with Glory, says the Lord of Hosts. The Silver is mine, and the Gold is mine. The Glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts, and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of Hosts.

That these Words are spoken to Zorobabel and Jo­shua, appears from the second verse of this Chap­ter.

From the 3. That the Temple mention'd here, is the second Temple, which compar'd to the for­mer, was as nothing: Agreeable to the relation made Ezr. 3.23. The Old men who had seen the one an­swering only with their Tears and Cryes, the loud Acclamations of the younger people for raising of the other.

From 4, 5. That God had promis'd them by Moses another Prophet to whom they should hearken, Deut. 18.15.

From the 6. That to usher him into the World, the Heavens, &c. should be shaken; that is, all that Dispensation under which they liv'd, that very Tem­ple wherein they worshipp'd. Which Interpreta­tion of this Verse, is that of the Author of the Epi­stle the Hebrews, Chap. 12.26.

From the 7, 8. That then the Messiah should come, known by the Character of the desire of the Nations, The Shilo prophesied by Jacob, Gen. 49.10.

From the 9. That for that very Reason the Glory of that Temple should far exceed even that, which surpass'd all the places of the Earth, by which God was known to inhabit Judea, and to love the Ta­bernacles of Jacob; The Temple built by Solomon.

There must be that then in the Messias, whom we all acknowledge to be the Holy Jesus, which makes the Glory of this latter Temple to exceed that of the former. I take this to be the stress of the Question. To think that the difference lies in the Building and Architecture, as some have fansied, of the Temple built afterwards by Herod, or even of the duration of this, which is the Opinion of some Jews, does not deserve any consideration.

It is said then of the former Temple, that the Almighty did appear by a Cloud; That he sent a Fire to consume the Sacrifices, and this with so great a sence of his Presence, that 2 Chron. 5, 7. Chapters, [Page 47]it is repeated four times, that the Glory of the Lord fill'd the House: An Argument not only of his ap­proving what they did; but even of being himself amongst them. How could then the Glory of the second Temple be made greater by the Coming of the Messias? For granting that the Spirit of God did inhabit in Christ in a vast measure; That he wrought Miracles, and pleas'd God by the great Holiness of his Life; yet this at most but equals the frequent and glorious appearing of God himself.

Nothing can justifie the Assertion of the Prophet but this; That God in the second Temple is become visible, appearing to men in their own Nature: That ha­ving sent his only Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, he has consecrated this second House with his Blood. That by assuming our Nature, he has made good his Promises, and shew'd himself glorious, not only in a small corner of the Earth, and for a short time, but establish'd an endless Kingdom, and procur'd ro men an incomprehensible Glory. Hence Christ is call'd by David, Psal. 23.7. The King, and by the Apo­stle, 1 Cor. 2.8. The Lord of Glory, two of the most High God's Qualifications.

The Author of the Brief Hist. has taken no notice of this place; but the Lord Bishop of Sarum having made use of it in a Book or Sermon, which I have not seen, I find that what they say to it, Considerat. on the Explicat. of the Doctr. of the Holy Trin. pag. 24, 25. amounts to this: 1st, That my Lord is mista­ken, to think the word Glory in the second Temple alludes to the Cloud of Glory in the first. 2ly, that My Lord has added His to the Text, led to it by that chimerical mistake. 3ly. That the meaning is plain, They have built as well as they could consider­ing the streight they were in. But that God in due time will cause this house to be more magnificent even then that built by Solomon. 4ly, That admitting My Lord's [Page 48]opinion that God has appear'd in the Person of our Saviour in whom the Majesty of God dwelt Bodily, the Temple would not be more glorious than any other place where Christ resorted; But particularly because Christ never enter'd into the Temple. 5ly. That this Prophecy was fullfill'd in the rebuilding of the second Temple by Herod.

To the 1st, I say that the sacred writer in speaking of the Glory of the second Temple, must allude to the cloud of Glory of the first, or else he is not intel­ligible. This is evident, if the Glory of the first Tem­ple has no other foundation then the appearing of God in the cloud of Glory. But that it is so, is un­denyable; since all the excellence of a building of that nature consists neither in the magnificence of the stru­cture, nor the rarity and beauty of the pieces of which it is made; But only in God's acceptation. The burning bush was certainly more glorious then the palace of the Pharao's. The cloud of Glory was a sign that God was pleas'd with the erecting of a House which himself had required. Therefore the cloud of Glory, was the true and principal Glory of the first House. That it is so of the second appears from that magnificent preface of shaking the Heavens and the earth, and of bringing in the desire of the Nations, and then the promise of filling the House with Glory. This proves invincibly, that as God appearing in the cloud of Glory was the Glory of the first; so the ap­pearing of the Messias, the desire of the Nations, was the Glory of this second House.

To the 2d then. The Bishop did not undeservedly add the word, His, but follow'd the sence of the words: For if God's appearing in the Cloud made it His Glory; His appearing in the Messias must make it His Glory too.

To the 3d. It is altogether wide of the question. 1st, The Glory of the Lord was not only visible to [Page 49]the Priests and Ministers of the Altar, but to all the Children of Israel. 2. Chr. 7.3. 2ly, It was not only in the Holy of Holies, or where the Priests Minister'd, but it was upon the house. Thus Christ the Glory of the second house appear'd to all the people, and did those Miracles which no Man can do, except God be with him. Joh. 2.3. 3ly, It is visible that the Glory promis'd to the Temple is not so much to the Tem­ple it self, as to the time of its standing, since the Temple it self was to be destroy'd. A substantial ob­servation, and strangely overlook'd by these Gentlemen. That time was to be more glorious by bringing in a dispensation of Eternal righteousness: By putting an end to all Types and Figures: By fullfilling of God's Promises: by introducing into the World the desire of the Nations. Heb. 12.27. And this word once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

To the 4th, It deserves no answer. These Gentle­men are positive in things, which are really very dis­putable. The modern Jews may be of their opinion; The Ancient were not. That Herod the Great re­built the second Temple is assur'd by them, but flatly deny'd by Josephus Ant. Jud. lib. 15. c. 14. They say that it is confess't by all to have excell'd that of Solo­mon; But this is flatly contradicted by several learned Men, and, I think, to the purpose by Villapandus, Tom. 3. in Ezech.

In a word, These Gentlemen imagine in the place before cited, that this noble Prophecy amounts to no more than this..... We have not so much Money as Solomon, but we have done what we can: God will provide us more, and then we shall do better. Con­sid. pag. 24. How can Men of sence and learning espouse such comical Interpretations? If they are in earnest, what must we think of them? And if they [Page 50]are not, let them consider that God is not to be mock't.

The whole Prophecy of Zechariah seems to have no other end, but to discover the Messiah to the World. His Divine nature is so fully express't in the second Chapter that it is above the reach of any little Criti­cisms or evasions whatsoever. The four first verses announce to Jerusalem that it shall be built again, and to its people, that they shall inhabit it. The 6, 7. are a repeated assurance that God will put an end to their Captivity. The 8. is a solemn Declaration that he is resolv'd to protect them. The Lord of Hosts as­sures them that he is sent to revenge their quarrel; and v. 9. that he will certainly do it, and that they shall evidently see that he is sent by the Lord of Hosts. For thus says the Lord of Hosts, After the Glory has he sent me to the Nations which spoil'd you— For behold, I will shake my hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants, and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me. That the Lord of Hosts is the Al­mighty; That he, and none but he, assumes that name is granted of all sides. It is also granted, that God is one, and that besides him, There is no God. And yet this Text represents The Lord of Hosts send­ing The Lord of Hosts. An expression parallel to that of Ps. 110.1. The Lord said to my Lord. It must be said then, that though a plurality of Gods is inconsi­stent, yet certainly the Divine Nature admits of more than one Divine Person. It must be confest, that The Lord of Hosts, who sends, is the Father: That The Lord of Hosts, who is sent, is the Eternal Word the Son: and that though there is but one God; yet that Revelation which he has made of himself tells us, that there is several Persons in that one God.

The Author of the Brief Hist. pag 22. answers 1st, That these words as they are in the Latin, and Eng­lish are hardly sense. 2ly, That neither of these words, [Page 51] thus says the Lord of Hosts are words of the Lord of Hosts himself, but of the second Angel, who at v. 3, 4. spoke to the first Angel and to Zechariah. 3ly, That the verses should have been thus render'd from the Hebrew. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, afterwards shall be Glory, instead of, after the Glory i. e. after you are departed out of Babylon, v. 7. you shall have honour and peace, and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me, i. e. to punish them and give you peace and glory.

To the 1st, and, 3d, It is hard to accuse Translati­ons exactly agreeable to the Original of Hardly being sence, when they cannot be made to bear with our opinions. In this the Author is unhappy that the let­ter of this Text is plain, and has scarce any difficulty. What he says, afterwards shall be glory, may be a sort of a Paraphrase, but is certainly no Translation. But the weakness of this will be evident by the reply.

To the 2d, He insists, that Thus says the Lord Hosts, are not the words of the Lord of Hosts himself, but of the second Angel who speaks to the first. I beg to know whether it is the Lord of Hosts who says v. 10.11. Sing and rejoice O Daughter of Sion, for lo I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, says the Lord. Can any one who is not obstinately resolv'd to contradict all mankind, say, that it is an Angel speaking to ano­ther. And many Nations shall be join'd to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the inidst of thee, and thou shall know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me. Is it not he who is sent by the Lord of Hosts, whose people they shall be: who will dwell in the midst of them? Once more, is it an Angel to whom many Nations shall be join'd; and who will take them for his people? He that speaks is without any evasion the Lord of Hosts, and He plainly and positively de­clares, that the Lord of Hosts has sent him. This Au­thor did catch at a kind of a Notion which he thought [Page 52]to find in the Verses before, but is so absolutely over­thrown by these last, that no rational solution can be offer'd to them. This is one of the Hammering Texts urg'd by the Fathers against the Arrians, and understood by the Jews of the Messiah.

The 12th, of Zechariah not only represents Christ as God, but even God suffering for us. It supposes his Incarnation and consequently the union of the two natures; and the Divinity being impassible it shews palpably that he has assum'd a body to suffer in. It is one of those Texts which prove themselves and are plainer than any sort of Explication. v. 10. The Al­mighty speaks thus, I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the Inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of Grace and supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierc't. That none but the only true God pours the spirit of Grace and supplications is indisputably true. It is the act of an infinite power, and mercy which can be in none but him; and yet that very God says, that they have pierc't him.

To prevent the understanding of this Allegorically piercing him with our sins as the Jews did of old, and of late in the person of Christ, which is the poor shift of the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 22. of Grotius before him, and of the Blasphemous Theodore of Mop­swest before Grotius; St. John tells us who is he that has been, and shall be seen thus pierc't, Rev. 1.7. Behold he comes with Clouds and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierc't him; A description of Christ coming to judge the World. It is to give God the lye to say that he has not been pierc't since he does so positively assure it. They shall look on me whom they have pierc't. But the Scripture shews this to have been done in Christ, Therefore Christ is that God who has been pierc't.

These Gentlemen will say No: Because God may say that he has been pierc'd; and Christ too may have [Page 53]been pierc'd and yet be no God. But if it can be prov'd that this is a direct Prophecy of Christ, that the Me where lyes the stress of the argument is spoken of Christ and of none else, it must be litterally true, that he has been pierc'd and that he is God.

The famous passage of Joh. 19.37. is express to this. The Evangelist having shew'd all along the accomplish­ment of Prophecies in Christ; fixes to him the sence of this place. And again another Scripture says, they shall look on him whom they have pierc'd. This is so decisive of the question that the Author of the Brief Hist. pag 22. reduces himself to this miserable shift, that this is ap­pli'd to, but not interpreted of Christ.

These Gentlemen who pretend so much to reason are now and then unreasonable. Can any thing be appli'd to Christ, and not interpreted of him; or interpreted, and not appli'd to him? They complain that we talk gibbrish, and have a jargon of our own. Pray what is this? Or will they say that it is only to allude at the place of the Prophet, and not to inter­pret? who can advance this with any candor that reads the place cited? St. John has prov'd all along that Christ is the Messias, the person promis'd by the Holy Prophets ever since the world began. In the History of his passion he shews that he has suffer'd nothing but what was foretold by the Spirit of God: The casting lots on his vesture v. 24. The calling for drink, v. 28. That the scripture, says the Evangelist, might be fullfill'd. And immediately before the Text in dispute, For these things were done that the Scripture should be fullfill'd. What is to interpret a Prophecy but to shew its accomplishment? how can God better justify his servants the Prophets, then by fullfilling visibly what they have foretold?

Malachy is another witness of that sacred truth which God has deliver'd to Mankind. Mat. 3.1. I will send my Messenger and he shall prepare the way before [Page 54]me: And the Lord whom you expect shall suddenly come to his Temple. That by the Lord who is to come to his Temple God is understood, is agreed by all In­terpreters. Parallel to this is, Isay 40.3. The voice of him that cryes in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord: Make strait in the desert a high way for our God. The learned Rabbins Maimon. and Kimchi are positive that this Prophecy regards none but the Messiah. St. Jerom affirms in Mal. 3.1. that the old Jews were of the same mind. This is put out of doubt by the anthority of the New Testament; The sacred Writers under­standing one part of the Prophecy of John the Baptist, and the other of Christ, Matt. 11.10. Mark 1.2. Luk. 1.76. and 7.27. The Lord then is God who should come to his Temple. It is our God to whom the way was to be prepar'd. But both these are said of Christ by the testimony of the Evangelists and the consent of the Jewish Writers. Therefore Christ is the Lord, Christ is our God.

The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 22. brings a­gain the rare notion of God coming by his Ambassa­dor Jesus, of which we have taken notice already. He has another singular imagination, and would have this to be said of Nehemias. But this being without any warrant, reason, example, or authority of any note does not deserve a reply.

Many more Texts might be added to these; But a letter must not swell into a volume, and I am affraid I have been already too tedious to you. But yet be­fore I conclude you must give me leave to say by way of Appendix to what has been laid before you, that of all those Gentlemens answers none is so weak, so in­sufficient and short of the thing propos'd, as that to an objection of the Dean of Pauls, that Socinianism makes the Jewish Oeconomy unreasonable and unac­countable. Observat. On Dr. Sherlock's Ans. pag. 45. and foll. I have not seen the Dean's Book, and I [Page 55]take what they make him say upon their own credit. But there is more even in that, than has been, or can be answer'd. They call it Trifling. But upon the least consideration it must be own'd that the an­swer and not the objection is the trifle. The Dean says, that if Christ were no more then a meer Man, the Antitype should fall very short of the Types contain'd in the Old Testament; that is, the Figures should far excel that of which they are Figures; and Moses his dispensation should be far more glorious than that of Christ; which if it be not an absurdity no­thing in the world can be absurd. I will presume to add to what the Dean says, that this is visible. For how can it be conceiv'd that the Old Testament is an introduction to the New; That from the Creation of the World to the coming of Christ every thing, every person, every institution, or transaction should be a Figure; That Moses should be a Figure, the Temple a Figure, in a word, that whole dispensation a Figure, which are all the assertions of the Fathers and yet deny'd by no Christians; and yet all this so magnify'd by the Prophets, look'd upon with such an expectation by the Jews, even reverenc'd by the Heathen, at­tested by God himself; who at sundry times, and in divers manners speaking to the Fathers by the Prophets has at last spoke to us by his own Son; That those splendid promises, those stupendous miracles, those incomprehensible methods of the Almighty, those repeated raptures and discoveries of the Prophets, those mighty characters of him that was to come; That all this should end in the appearing of a meer Man who by the Holiness of his Life should be ac­ceptible to God, is, in the modest terms of the Dean, very unaccountible. It is a great truth that nothing can so effectualy ridicule the Jewish dis­pensation as this.

The Answerer has said nothing to this, and has [Page 56]not so much as taken notice of it. And indeed he is to be commended; the objection is great and sub­stantial. It does not lye within the reach of a small criticism, and comparing a Text or two together, and then saying How can this be?

The Dean of Pauls having laid this principle, of twenty instances which he might have given, has chosen this, of God's dwelling in the Tabernacle, or in the Temple by the visible symbols of his presence. He argues from thence very rationally that the God who fills Heaven and earth with his presence, must have prefigur'd something more Divine and mysterious by dwelling in a house made with hands. He urges that a Typical presence can be a Figure of nothing but a real presence and God's personal dwelling amongst Men: Nothing answering to a Figurative visible presence of God, but a personal visible presence. All this is just and coherent. He says that the Man Corist Jesus was really the Temple which the Divinity chose to inhabit. The Antitype of that Temple where God made himself visible: That Christ with a great deal of reason call'd his body a Temple, since God did appear so eminently in him.

All this is so true that they have not one word to say to it. Their exclaiming against Allegories and the instance of the Ark are wide of the thing. The prodigious inclination of the Israelites to Idolatry being the reason of the visible Symbols of God's Presence is a new and at best a slender notion. The Metaphorical expression of the Apostle to the Corinthians that they are the Temple of God, is nothing to the pur­pose.

I dare to say that if the Dean had gone no farther, all had been without exception. But he does, and urges a personal union by saying that without it, the body of Christ had been no more then a Figurative Temple, as the other was; that is, the Figure of a [Page 57]Figure which is unsufferable. This will not prove a contriving of Types and Figures, of cold and ground­less Allegories, as they call it, if they are pleas'd but to consider from all the Texts examin'd before, that God had promis'd to appear, and that all these pro­mises imply a personal appearance. If this can be prov'd, as I humbly conceive that it has, where lyes the difference between a personal appearance, and a personal union? Can God appear in our nature without taking our nature? Can God be seen as a Man without being made Flesh.

The application of Joh. 1.14. a dreadful Text to these Gentlemen, is not all answer'd. The Dean says, that even the very word [...], He Tabernacl'd amongst us, fullfill'd that Type of God's dwelling in the Tabernacle, or Temple in Jerusalem by his dwelling personally in our humane nature. They run here to their Crambe recocta, their wild ex­plication of that place, of which we shall see the po­verty hereafter.

The Dean having said, that the lamb slain from the foundation of the world could not be understood of God's decree, the ordinary evasion of these Gentlemer, ...... But that it was slain in Types and Figures ever since the fall of Adam in those early sacrifices offer'd after the fall, which were Typical and Figurative of the sacrifice of Christ. They can­not deny the matter of fact. But maintain pag. 48. that they were of humane institution and no Types or Figures of the sacrifice of Christ. The reason, they say, is that the scripture is silent about it. Such a reason from such Men is surprising, who know that the Religion of the first Men being all traditional, no account could be given in scripture of any positive Precept. But that those sacrifices were no Figures of the sacrifice of Christ, is very strange, if it be granted, that there is no redemption but by Christ: [Page 58]That no sin is forgiven but by the vertue of the sacri­fice of Christ on the Cross: That all men have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God: That as it is natural to men to adore the Majesty of God, it is also natural to implore of him pardon of Sin, That both these were the design of Sacrificing in the first Men, and consequently, that as their Sacrifices were of no validity, but in respect of the great Sacrifice of­fer'd by the Son of God; so they must of themselves have been Typical and Figurative.

The Dean has said that which is the Doctrine of the Fathers and generally of all Christians. His noti­on is true and genuine, and those Gentlemen have not answer'd it. He asks again, what account can be given of the Jewish Priesthood and Sacrifices which is becoming God, if God is propitiated by a Man subject to the same Sins and Infirmites? The difficulty is solid. For the High Priest of the old dispensation being a meer Man, He was a Metaphorical Priest. He must be then the figure of a Priesthood, and of a Priest more perfect; and if the High Priest of the new dispensation was no more than a Man, for this these Gentlemen suppose notwithstanding the great addition of Grace and Glory made to him, This High Priest is still Metaphorical and Typical, as well as the other. This contradicts the Author of the Epi­stle to the Hebrews, c. 7. v. 2. and foll. The law made Men Priests which had Infirmities, and offer'd daily for their own sins and then for the people's. But Christ our High Priest was holy, undefil'd, separate from sinners and made Higher than the Heavens. That is, above any created being. He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him. Nothing that is a meer Man is able to save. Nothing that is a meer Man is without Infirmities, the very notion of a Creature implying deficiency and want. Therefore if he is no more, he is still Typical and Figurative. This objection is not, [Page 59]nor can be answer'd with all the turns of Wit and Eloquence in the World. The union of the two natures in that one adorable Person answers it pre­sently and wholly. They are not willing to come up to this: But yet this truth is so clear, and the Argument so pressing that it has extorted from them in the same place, that God has made Christ as it were God by his unspeakable gifts. What is all this? what? has he made him half a God, or three parts God, or nine parts in ten God? If Christ is no more then a meer Man, how is he made as it were God? If he is God, How is he made as it were God? Is this jargon or gibbrish? I understand how a man can be made as it were a King and yet be no King. I ap­prehend how Moses could be a God to Pharo by work­ing in him with his wonders an awful sence of him from whom he spoke: But how a man can save his fellow creatures to the uttermost, a meer man satis­fy for the sins of mankind, be made as it were a God, and yet be no God: do those things which none but God can do, and are the inseparable properties of his Divine nature, and yet be no God, is to me wholly incomprehensible. Let these Gentlemen, who are so strangely afraid of an imaginary Idolatry, have a care lest they lead their few followers into a real one. I leave this to your serious considerarion and remain,

SIR,
Your Humble and faithful Servant. L.

THE Second LETTER.

SIR,

IF the Old Testament seems express in the asser­tion of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and if the Prophets have shew'd that the expected Messias was God; It must be expected that the New is positive in it, and that the Evangelists and Apostles clearly deliver that great truth. I hope that you will be made sensible of it, and that the answers of your Friends will appear as unsatisfactory to the Texts of the one, as I humbly conceive they are to those of the other.

I ever thought that if this Doctrine is not fully ex­pres't there, we must not think any more to see with our Eyes, or to hear with our Ears. All must be re­solv'd into a monstruous uncertainty, and we have no ground left where to rest if this is not firm and solid. That these Gentlemen should be so Zealous against it, and agreeing with us in the truth of the holy Scrip­tures should use so much learning and industry not to see that which is so visible, is to me no small cause of admiration. We must in this adore the judgments of God and pray to him that he would give them Grace to employ their excellent parts to a better use, and do as much for the truth, as they have done against it.

They have been led to this by the presumptious assertion of some in the Roman communion, and in particular by Dyonisius Petavius, a better Chronologist [Page 61]than a Divine, who to raise not so much Tradition, as these Gentlemen mistake him, as the power of the Church in deciding Controversies, have thought that our mysteries could not be prov'd by the plain autho­rity of Scripture. If this is true, the Primitive Christians could give no account of their Faith before the determination of Councels; and were left unarm'd, and without defence against the insults of Hereticks: which is unreasonable to the highest degree, and a thought unworthy of that Providence which makes the Church its peculiar care.

No, Sir, The Scripture ought to be our rule: Nor can we better judge of God, or of the things of God, than by the discovery which he has made of himself in his word. To this we are willing to stand without doubting either of the success, or goodness of the cause. But before we come to particular places, I must lay before you some grievances, which if not re­dres'st, it is impossible to treat this sacred matter with candor. I hope none of us dispute for disputing sake. It is as much in controversies as in any other thing that we shall be brought to an account for eve­ry idle word.

1st. There is an injustice in these Gentlemen who pretend to add much to their Interpretations by sheltering them under the name of some learned Pro­testant; and make use of this against us. But will not take what they give and except against all the Authorities alledg'd against them.

2ly. In the lett. of resolut. concerning the Doctr. of the Trin. and Incarn. pag. 3. I demand, says the Author, such a Text of our apposers, and do here profess that if they name it not, t'is because they can­not. He had said before, That that Text cannot be nam'd which some or other of the learn'd Pro­testants have not either interpreted, as t'is inter­preted by Socinians, or Arrians; or expressly said [Page 62]'twas not intended by the inspir'd Author concern­ing the Incarnation, or Trinity, or any Person therein. He grows dogmatical upon this and adds; I will leave it with you, Sir, whether this be not a just exception to these Doctrines: even this that they have no sufficient foundation in Scripture by the confession of the learn'dst of our opposers? How many exceptions is that sort of reasoning liable to? How can these Gentlemen take for themselves what is said for the Arrians, whose principles are so different, whose system is so inconsistent with theirs? How boundless is such an assertion which without naming any particulars, extends first to all and then to most of the learned Protestants? These Texts, or those Interpreters are not so many, but a short Catalogue might have been given. Admitting the thing to be true, How comes it that none of those learned Protestants are turn'd Socinians, particularly having given up all their places of strength? Is there any argument for any Doctrine either in Philosophy or Divinity but what has met with some Eminent opposer? And what wise Man will conclude that nothing is true or cer­tain, because some learned Person or other, has given up, some one, and some other, that part of the Ar­gument which he thought did not prove the thing in question? Who is insensible, particularly the studious, that many learned Men have been singular in the in­terpretation of some places of Scripture for want of at­tention, or piety, which I take to be most necessary in an Interpreter, or to make shew of a splendid erudi­tion, or because they thought the thing treated of had more substantial arguments, or because they had es­pous'd a new system, which last case I take to be that of Grotius, and of these very Gentlemen. Had this Author said that any one, or the several bodies of Protestants had given up every particular Text, it would have been of some force: But the reasoning, [Page 63]as it lyes, is a Rodomontado, a mistake, and a fallacy.

3ly. I complain that these Gentlemen are angry with all the translations of the Bible. pag. 25. of the answer to Mr. Milbourn. If the Heavenly words were but honestly translated the Socinians would not fear any inference from them. Our Protestant opposers value themselves much on this account, that they have given to the people the holy Bible in vulgar languages. It may however be said that they have been more crafty then the Papists in imposing upon the people ...... The Papists have sillilly rais'd a clamor by witholding the Bible from the people ..... The Protestants have been wiser, though not a bit more sincere .... They have Printed all the Bi­bles that are in the original Greek Tongue from such Manuscript Copies as have been corrected to speak the language of the Church, and from Bibles so cor­rected and Printed they have made their translations. Nor has the fraud stop't there; For wherever there is an ambiguity in the Original Hebrew, or Greek, they have always so translated as to confirm their own Doctrines.

A case is very desperate when it shelters it self un­der such aspersions. Had these Gentlemen charg'd our Reformers with inadvertency or want of erudi­tion it had been more tolerable. But to lay at their doors unsincerity and craft is bold and odious. Their great Piety and their Zeal for the cause of God for which many of them dy'd, is inconsistent with this. The plain English is this; Give up all your Bibles, and trust to our Interpretation.

I have no time to run through all the Translations of the Bible, to vindicate the care and application taken to make them perfectly agreeable to the original. A specimen of ours is to be found in the Appendix to the History of the Reformation by My Lord of Sarum [Page 64]whom these Gentlemen have stil'd the Eusebius of this age. It is impossible but some minute things will e­scape the most exact diligence. But as to the main, they have been made after the ancientest Copies ex­tant; and of all those which I understand, none is so admirable and so full of various readings as the En­glish.

How is it possible ever to come to a conclusion with Persons of this Temper? I produce a Text for the Divinity of Jesus Christ. They pretend another read­ing. Who must be our judge? I maintain the tran­slation to be agreeable to the original. It is not deny'd. But another reading, and another sence is pretended also agreeable to the Original. Which of these two must carry it? Either mine which is according to all the readings, all the Translators, and all the Inter­preters; or this new and as yet unknown sence? This is the case between us, and of this I complain, that these Gentlemen think to have answer'd an objection, when to a place generally and anciently read and un­derstood as it is propos'd, they substitute a new and unknown interpretation.

I say that no interpretation is to be receiv'd which is new: That to answer is not to have the last word, and offer some glimmering light to a difficulty; That the candor of a serious dispute admits of no such thing; and that that sence must take place which is most easy, most ancient and most universal.

4ly. I am griev'd to see the Tradition of the Church in that point so ridicul'd by these Gentlemen, and the Nicene Council, the first general meeting of the Fathers, and reverenc't by all the after ages call'd the Homoousian faction, in the mock History of the acts of the great Athanasius. I must give it that name, it being impossible that Men who are vers't in Ecclesiasti­cal learning should have writ it seriously: There be­ing scarce in it any one matter of fact true and genuine. [Page 65]If I may be allow'd a digression; I would willingly know where these Gentlemen found that Constantine dy'd an Unitarian? If by an Unitarian they mean that he own'd the Unity of the Godhead, I hope we shall all dye in that faith. But if by it they mean a Socinian, a denyer of the Divinity of Christ, It is a gross and a palpable untruth. I would also be satisfi'd whether Eusebius of Caesarea whom they so truly call'd the Ad­mirable did not subscribe the Nicene faith.

To return. In an answer to a loving Cosen pag. 3. We hear of nothing but Fathers, Tradition, Coun­cils, &c. pag. 8. This general Observation concern­ing the Fathers is sufficient to make me refuse their testimony, and look upon them as no good Interpre­ters of Scripture, and unfaithfull Guardians of Traditi­on.

We are then in a very sad case. Our Translations are dishonest, and the Holy Fathers are no good In­terpreters of Scripture, and unfaithfull Guardians of Tradition. Our Translations and the Fathers should have spoke as these Gentlemen, and then all had been right. Where will of necessity such wild notions lead Men, and when will the dispute end if they are ad­mitted?

For my part I am of Mr. Chillingworth's mind, and think that it is both the safety and honour of the Protestant Religion to cry out, The Bible, The Bible, a place of that eminent Man so often and so justly commended by these Gentlemen. I am perswaded that the word of God ought to be the rule. But then I am satisfi'd, that no Scripture is of private inter­pretation: That this Bible must be well understood: and that Tradition is the greatest human Authority in the World. I take this point to be so clear, par­ticularly to Men of learning, that if any Society of Christians could produce for what they have to say for themselves such a Tradition as Vine [...]ius Li [...]i­nensis [Page 66]has establisht, and is the true notion of Tradi­tion, we must all come over to it.

This is so just in it self, that these very Gentlemen cannot forbear expressing their joy, when what they produce is not altogether their own, and has some great names to introduce it. They speak then with a certain sort of assurance, which they have not at o­ther times.

I do not know whether I am as other Men, or whe­it is a singularity in me; but if I have never so pretty a notion and find it contradicted by the concurrent testimonies of Men who have united a profound Piety, to an admirable Learning; such as are the Basil's, The Chrysostom's, The Theodoret's, The two Gregorie's, The Eusebius's, The Cyrill's, The Jerom's, The Au­stin's, and many more: If I sind primitive and Gene­ral Councils exclaiming against me: If I meet in my way almost all that has been valuable in the last, and this present Age in the Common-wealth of learning: Though I might perhaps maintain the notion and spin it into a Letter or a small Book, not perhaps without some Admirers; yet I presently strike, and think it both most honourable and conscientious to call the pretty thing in.

5ly. I have a just value for Criticks; though whe­ther a Critick is Master of any one sort of Learning is a great Question to me. But to make Criticks the Judges, and Criticisms the Touchstone of Faith is insufferable. Like Anatomists they dissect, till they leave neither Form nor Figure. A Criticism is much different from a good reason: Allowing one to be good, a hundred amount generally to no more than a probability. They are a sort of Arrows shot at random, which sometimes hit the mark, and gene­rally go above, or below it. I insist the more on this, because it is the Palladium of these Gentlemen. When a Text is plain and stares in the face, then comes out [Page 67]the Criticism. This is the dissecting Instrument which runs through the Text till wrangling arises about a Particle, or a Punctuation, and makes the substantial part of the dispute to vanish. When Reason is op­pos'd to Reason, and Argument to Argument, the stander by may, in a very short time, feel the impres­sions of truth. But when a plain Authority is evaded by a Criticism, and this Criticism perhaps answer'd by another, For these Gentlemen are great but not the only Criticks, There is jarring and clashing, and not one step made towards the truth.

In the Letter of Resolut. concern. the Doctr. of the Trin. and Incar. p. 10. the Author says, and he is very much in the right, that we pretend, That the Tri­nity and Incarnation are Traditions deriv'd down to our times through all the intermediate Ages, and by all the Churches professing Christianity. The rational way to prove the vanity of the pretence is to shew that there was a time and some Church or other where these Doctrines were not believ'd. Instead of this he spends three pages to prove how we have dif­fer'd, and do differ amongst our selves in the expli­cation of these Doctrines; which rather supports then weakens the Argument. It does evince; that we agree in the thing though not in the manner of ex­plaining it, which is that that I insist on, with the rest of my Brethren the Divines of the mob, as these Gentlemen call us.

But this is only to criticise at large. All the Criticks, says this same Author in the same Letter, without excepting one, who have made a judgment of the writings of the Fathers for the first 300 Years, and particularly which of those writings are genuine and uncorrupted, which wholly feign'd or otherwise corrupted, I say, All the Criticks constantly make this a Note of forgery, or corruption, if those writings speak any what expressly or evidently of these Doctrines.

If the Criticks mean that the writings of the Primi­tive Fathers, which speak of those Mysteries in the Terms us'd by the Schools long since the Nicene Council, are supposs'd; They are in the right. But this Criticism is against those Gentlemen themselves. It regards only the manner of the expression, not the thing express'd. But if the Criticks mean that the Trinity, or Incarnation were unknown to, and were not the Doctrine of the Fathers before the Council of Nice, which is that which these Gentle­men must make the Criticks to say, or else they say nothing: I beg leave of these Gentlemen, and of all the Criticks, not one excepted, to tell them that they are invincibly mistaken. I have no criticism to offer here, nor will I sill this small writing with citations of these Fathers, it being the thing in question; Though I conceive, with submission to the high and mighty Criticks, that most of these citations may be prov'd genuine. I have only two plain Reasons to offer. 1st. With what equity and assurance did the Nicene Fathers declare their decrees to be according to the Doctrine taught by the Fathers who had pre­ceeded them, if the Trinity and Incarnation was not the Doctrine of those Fathers? The Council was an August Meeting of the most learned and Religious Persons in the World, even by the confession of their Adversaries. Some of them had preserv'd the gift of miracles which expir'd soon after. Such an assertion, had it not been true, would have better become a pack of Villains, than Holy and Reverend Men. 2ly, How durst the Nicence Fathers declare this to be the Faith, and Anathematise whosoever was against that sacred, wise, Divine and Catholick Faith: had this Faith been new and unknown to the Fathers before, nay, had a contrary Faith obtain'd then in the Christian World? This is a monstruous supposition, that within 300 Years after Christ, the Nicene Fathers should [Page 69]presume to obtrude the belief of, and declare a Doctrine to be Faith which the Primitive Fathers were not so much as acquainted with. To give more strength to this, and prevent an objection which perhaps may have some colour, and occasion another Criticism, I freely own that not only the Arrians, but even some of the Orthodox complain'd, that the words Consubstantial, and Consubstantiality, were new and unscriptural. But this confirms what I have said; the newness and unscripturalness of the words, but not of the sence being asserted. They agreed in the truth and antiquity of the Doctrine, but only differ'd about these two words, which by being new and un­scriptural were not thought so fit to express it. I beg your pardon for insisting so long upon this. But I was forc't to it; 1st, Because this very place of that Letter you have often urg'd to me. 2ly, To shew that how great Criticks soever we are, we must be just and equitable, and value reasons above Criticisms. If these Gentlemen write for the Unlearned, they are much out of the way; these things are above their reach: And if for the Learned, they must own that this has not made one Learned Man of their side. It is a sort of Chicane which Men of sence abhor.

6ly, These Gentlemen would have us prove those Terms by Scriptures which we own to be unscriptural. They challenge us to find in the New Testament the word Godman, Trinity, Incarnation; nay, whole Pro­positions in Terminis. The Author of the Letter now cited, pag. 10. pretends it as a great Argument of their side, that Tertullian is the first amongst the Latins, and Clemens Alexand. amongst the Greeks, who first us'd the word Trinity. We might as well ask, and with as little reason, where is the word Ʋnity in respect of God, or Sacrament or Hierarchy, and several more, which all the World receives, and yet are no Scriptural words? If we do but find the things ex­prest [Page 70]by the words, as that God is one, that there is Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, that there is an or­der of Men appointed to administer holy things, the words are a natural consequence, and founded in the things themselves. Is it not highly unjust to ask us where we find a Trinity, if we can prove three Divine Persons; That besides the Father whom they acknow­ledge to be God, the Son also, and the Holy Spirit is God? To wonder at the word, Eternal Generation; since if we prove Christ's Pre-existence and Pre-eterni­ty, He cannot be the Son of God but by way of Eter­nal Generation. To stare at the word, Incarnation, as such an unheard of thing, since if Christ is God, and yet has taken our nature, He must be Incarnate. These are poor, mean, and a sort of Mob difficul­ties.

These Grievances being consider'd I beg nothing but what is equitable. 1st, I beg that if we prove the thing in question, that is, the Divinity of Christ, and of the Holy spirit, we may have no quarell about the words Trinity and Incarnation.

2ly, That no particular Interpretation of any Pro­testant Author may be brought against us as Inter­pretation either of our Church or any other consider­able body of Protestants.

3ly, That if a Text is capable of a various reading, and of a double sence, that sence and reading may be preserv'd, which is prov'd to have been the ancient reading, and the sence generally receiv'd in the Churches of God. A sence new and unknown to all the Ages of the Church cannot be the sence: and that possession which we and all Christian Societies are in of those Texts, cannot be disturb'd, without something more forcible and authoritative than the witty fancy of an Interpreter.

4ly, I beg that the Fathers may be heard as Wit­nesses of an unquestionable integrity; and that this [Page 71]at least may be a real prejudice against these Gentle­men, that they have not only oppos'd the Faith of their Age, but also that of times past.

5ly, That a Criticism alone, the doubting of a Book, the denying of a place, the wrangling about a Particle, without some considerable reason to back it, may not be look't upon as an Answer.

6ly, That not only some one particular Text which we alledge be consider'd; but that all our Texts be taken together with the weight of the im­portant reasons which inforce the belief of our Mysteries. This granted, I conceive that it is no dif­ficult matter to convince a candid Opposer, that the New Testament is clear for the Divinity of Christ.

We will begin by that which is the foundation of our Holy Religion. Matt. 28.19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is the ancient profession of our Faith, and ingenuously acknowledg'd to be such, by the Author of the An­swer to Mr. Milb. pag. 16. He cites for this Tertullian de bapt. c. 13. He might have cited Theodoret lib. 1. c. 12. St. Basil de Spir. sanct. and Arrius himself, who is a Wit­ness of this in the Confession of his Faith, given to Constantine, and reported by Socrates lib. 1. c. 26.

The Orthodox from this Text conclude three Per­sons to be spoken of. These Gentlemen only two; The Father who is God, and the Son. The Holy Ghost they will have to be no more than the Energy of the Father. They are positive in the Brief Hist. pag. 25. That neither the more learned of their Op­posers, nor the Fathers of the first 400 Years, insist on this Text to prove the Divinity of the Lord Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. The matter of fact is a vast mistake, and the very supposition is impossi­ble; This place having been cited so often by the Ancients and modern to prove the Persons of the [Page 72]Trinity, must of course in their Hypothesis, be an Ar­gument for their Divinity.

They agree with us, that the Son spoken of in the Text is Christ Jesus, whom they will have to be the Son of God, by all other titles but that of Nature, and Essence. They say of him that he is the Son of God by his miraculous Conception in the womb of the Blessed Virgin; By his Mission to preach to Men, and reclaim them from their Sins; by his Glorious Re­surrection, being begotten to a new Life, and his Ad­mission to a Blessed Immortality, whence, as God's deputy, he is to come to judge the quick and the dead: But that for all this he is a Man, and no more than a Man, he has no other Existence, no other Nature. We on the contrary, besides all these titles, insist on that of Nature. We say that he is the Son of God af­ter a manner incommunicable to any Created Being.

I suppose that if the Pre-existence, and Pre­eternity of the Son can be prov'd, his Equality with the Father, his sameness of Nature, and a communica­tion of those names, by which the only true God is known to us, the assertion will be justifi'd. For all that we conceive of God, being that he exists before all things, that he has neither beginning, nor ending, that he is above all things, that he is infinite in per­fections; That he is the Creator, and in a most emi­nent way the Lord of all that is; If this is made out of the Son, in vain those Gentlemen struggle to reduce what is said of him, to their poor wayes of explaining how he is the Son of God; since none of their expli­cations can amount to any part of this.

1st, Then to prove his pre-existence, that is, that he had a being before he was conceiv'd of the Virgin, read Joh. 6.62. What and if you shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before? The design of the whole Chapter is to convince the Jews that they ought to receive him. The Argument he uses is that he is [Page 73]come down from Heaven. He tells them that he is the food of their Souls. That their Fathers indeed had meat sent from above, but that it could not keep them from Death; But that he brings them bread of so great a vertue that it would procure immortality: That this bread is his Flesh which he gives for the life of the World. His hearers were scandalis'd at this. The discontent affected even his Disciples: Till Jesus to convince them that he came from Heaven, tells them positively that he was there before, and that as a proof of this they should see him ascending thither a­gain. There is not, nor can be a more easy way of Arguing. You doubt whether I come from Hea­ven to feed and preserve, to save and redeem you. What greater proof of this can you desire then to see me as­cend to Heaven, where I was before, and from whence I descended? If Christ then was actually in Heaven before he was born, these two truths cannot be deny'd. 1st. that he had another Nature besides the human, since he had another existence. 2ly, That he must have existed, before the time assign'd by these Gen­tlemen, to be the first of his Existence, that is, his Con­ception in the Virgin. If Christ was not before he was born; how can he say that he was in Heaven? If Christ was not in Heaven, how does he offer them to let them see him ascending thither again?

The Apostle takes this for granted, Eph. 4.9. He proves by Christ's ascending to Heaven, that he de­scended from thence. Whether he alludes or no to this place is uncertain. But he looks upon Christ be­ing come down from Heaven, and having been actu­ally there, as a principle agreed on by all Men. How that he ascended, what is it, but he also descended first? and v. 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all Heavens, &c. He then who ascended from us to Heaven, did first descend from Heaven to us. Joh. 6.33. The bread of God is he which [Page 74]comes down from Heaven. Joh. 3.31. He that comes from a­bove is above all...He that comes from Heaven is above all. Joh. 16.27. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the World; again I leave the World, and go to the Father.

This Doctrine is not only of the Scripture; but it may be said to be one of the first notices of Christianity, there being scarce any Sect or denomination of Christi­ans, but believes that Heaven is the place from whence their Redeemer is come. A notion so plain, so easy, so consistent with the whole revelation of the will of God, that Photinus Bishop of Syrmium, the Socinus of his Age, was not only condemn'd by several Councils, but Anathematis'd also by the several per­swasions of Christians, and even by the Arrians and Semi-Arrians, themselves.

What these Gentlemen, oppose consists in this. The Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn says, pag. 25. That Christ was actually taken up into Heaven, and took his instructions from the Father before he enter'd upon his Prophetical Office. That this is intimated by the very place which we have examin'd, by Joh. 8.38. but particularly by Joh. 3.13. No Man has ascended to Heaven, but he that is come down from Heaven, even the Son of Man, who is in Heaven; That the word, is, must be read, was, that Erasmus, Beza, Camerarius, read it thus; That the Evangelists have not spoke of the time of this assumption because it was before their being call'd to be his Disciples; that Christ never told them of it, but only hinted it in some discourses. The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 27.28. Cites the same Authors for the word was. He tells us. That the must Orthodox Interpreters understand it me­taphorically. But that the Socinians understand this Text litterally, and say that 'tis here intimated, that before our Lord enter'd upon his Office of Messias, He was taken up to Heaven to be instructed [Page 75]in the mind and will of God, as Moses was into the mount. Exod. 24.1. and foll. and from thence descended to execute his Office: That the same thing is also hinted. Joh. 6.38. Joh. 8.40.

When I see such answers to a place of that impor­tance, so express and so positive, and from Persons of so much Learning, I ask my self whether I dream, or am really awake? I am tempted to lose all the re­spect which I have for them, and begin to think that it is not reason and conscience, but obstinacy which makes Socinians. 1st, The Authors before cited do not say that it ought to be read was, but that it may be read thus. Qui est in coelo, says Beza, [...], vel qui erat in coelo. Beza in Joh. 3.13. These great Cri­ticks are not sensible that the, was, is as much for us as the, is. I hope they have read the advice of this Learned Man in the notes on this very Verse. Ha­ving discourst of the Union of the two natures in Christ, He concludes in these words. I thought fit to make these short remarks against a sort of Men, who are not asham'd in this our Age, to fetch back from Hell the de­testable errors of Nestorius and Eutyches, oppos'd by the vast labours and studies of all the Fathers, and condemn'd with the clear and unanimous consent of the whole Church.

2ly, I deny that the most learned Interpreters have understood it in a Metaphorical sence. This is another of those Gentlemen's boundless citations. A Metaphorical sence of these words is ridiculous, imper­tinent and inconsistent with the thing it self. They see it, and therefore they forsake the allegory, and come to the matter of fact, that Christ was actually in Heaven before he came to preach the Gospel.

You see what it is to espouse a wrong notion. They are resolv'd upon asserting that Christ had no being before he he was conceiv'd in the Blessed Virgin. The objection made to them is so plain that they can by no [Page 76]means evade or deny it. But yet rather than sub­mit, they run themselves into a groundless, I must beg their pardon, If I say, a senceless supposition of our Saviour being taken up to Heaven about the 30th Year of his Age. 1st, There is not one word of it in the writings of either the Evangelists, or Apostles. 2ly, There is not so much as a Father, or an Ecclesiasti­cal Writer ever made that conjecture; no not Hebion the Jew, not Marcellus of Ancyra, nor Theodore of Mopswest, not Photinus himself. 3ly, There never was any Ascension of Christ into Heaven taught or believ'd in the Church, but that which follow'd the Resur­rection; nor no other coming from thence, but when he took our Flesh, and when he will come to judge the World. 4ly, I appeal to any one who will judge equitably of things, whether it is probable that the Evangelists who have descended to so many minute and particular actions of Jesus Christ, would ever have omitted a circumstance of so mighty a weight as this; of so great a necessity; and a glorious introduction to all the rest? No, say these Gentlemen, but they did not know it: This was done before he had call'd them to be his Apostles. Oh stange! was not the adoration of the wise Men, His sitting in the midst of the Doctors, His being Baptis'd of John, His prodi­gious Fast, His Temptation in the Wilderness and so many other parts of His Life before his calling them to that Office? How came they to know all this and not this imaginary Ascension, found out sixteen hun­dred Years after the preaching of the Gospel? But though Christ did say nothing to them of it, yet he hinted it. I deny that he did. His coming from Heaven had no relation but to his being there before his assuming our nature. But supposing that he did, which is false, For if these Gentlemen cannot prove a thing, they will endeavour to hint it, I ask of them, whether Religion can be built upon a Hint, and what [Page 77]account we can give of the Hope which is in us, if it is resolv'd into Hints.

This Pre-existence of Christ is fully prov'd from Joh. 8.56. and foll. v. He tells the Jews that Abra­ham rejoiced to see his day, that he saw it and was glad. They presently come to the, How can it be? Abraham himself being dead so many hundred Years before, and himself not yet fifty Years Old? Jesus answers that for all that it was as he said. He assures it with a repeated asseveration, Verily, Verily, I say to you, before Abraham was I am; or as the Syriack and other Translations read, I was. If Christ Jesus had no other existence but from the Virgin Mary, How comes he to say that he was before Abraham? He could not be before Abraham, as he was the Son of Mary. He could not exist according to the human nature be­fore he was a Man. If he existed then, as he says po­sitively that he did, it must be as he was that God who in the fullness of time was pleas'd to appear to us. Thus Dr. Hammond, in his Paraphrase on this place. You are much mistaken in the reckoning of my Age, for I have a being from all Eternity, and so before Abraham was born, &c. I cite this Reverend Person by reason of an aspersion laid on him by these Gentlemen in a letter to a loving Cosen. pag. 14. They make the Doctor to look upon the mystery of the Holy Trinity, as a thing altogether useless and un­capable of moving the heart of Man. He could not find, says the Author, a place in his large practical Catechism for the great spring of the Trinity.

That the sence given to this Text is true and genu­ine appears from the behaviour of the Jews at v. 59. Then they took up stones to cast at him. Had the asserti­on been capable of a figurative sence, it would never have mov'd them to such a degree. They certainly un­derstood him of a real and actual existence. Their ob­jection, thou art not yet fifty Years Old, was of that natural [Page 78]Age which they thought Christ had not yet attain'd. They took the answer to be litteral, and therefore judging the thing to be blasphemous and impossible, they would have ston'd him. And that the answer was litteral is undenyable. Notwithstanding my Years, says Christ, I have seen Abraham. This were indeed impossible to see him who has been dead above 1800 Years, if I had no other being but what you see: It would be Blasphemous if I were no more then a Man born in time, to take that upon me which belongs only to God, and to call the things that are not, as though they were; But I tell you that I was before Abraham. I had a being of my own, and I did actually exist before he was born. I take this to be evident and conclusive.

This Text is one of those dangerous places which are like to overthrow the Socinian Fabrick, and there­fore these Gentlemen do all that they can to elude its force. They have been so judicious as to forsake the ruinous and impertinent answers of Chrellius, and their other outlandish Friends, and have reduc't them­selves to this. The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 29. allows the reading, I was. Grotius owns it, and therefore it could not be handsomely deny'd. To the rest he says, 1st, That Abraham saw Christ's day in the spirit of Prophecy. He saw it not as coming, but as present; He foresaw, as he desir'd, the time when it should be. 2ly, That Christ is here said to be before Abraham not actually, but in the councel, decree, and ordination of God. And that St. Au­stin has confess'd it; He cites for this. 1 Pet. 1.20. The lamb slain from the foundation of the World, and Rev. 13.8. The lamb slain from the foundation of the World. He adds. That the Jews did not apprehend in what sence Christ spoke. But neither did he intend or care they should ..... They being averse from Truth and Piety, he often so spake to some of them, as to perplex and affront their blindness .... and [Page 79]not to instruct them. He alledges for this Luk. 8.10.

The 1st Part of the Answer is to no purpose. Who doubts but that Abraham saw Christ in the spirit of Prophecy? The question is not, how Abraham did see his day and rejoiced, but How he could exist be­fore Abraham? Before Abraham was, I was. I had a being before Abraham was born. That's the point to be insisted on.

The 2d Part, that Christ was before Abraham in God's decree and ordination is also to no purpose. The question is whether Christ has seen Abraham? The Jews say thou hast not, for thou art not yet fifty Years Old; Thou art much posterior to him. But I tell you, says Christ, I am so far from being posterior, that I am anterior to him; Before he was I am. Now we must judge of the answer by the question. The one ought to have relation to the other; or else it is all cross purposes, which must not so much as be thought of here. To deal candidly; do the Jews ask Christ, whether he is so much later then Abraham in time or only in the decree of God? It is certainly in time; Thou art not yet fifty Years Old. There­fore Christ speaks also of a priority of time, and not of decree: Before he was I am.

Besides admitting of that decree, Christ could not have said that he was in the decree before Abraham. For Abraham in whose seed all nations were to be blessed, was in the decree before the seed it self. A­braham's coming into the World was in the decree be­fore Christ's appearing in the Flesh.

This Author has cited St. Austin, but neither his words nor the place where they are to be found. If he means in his tracts on the Gospel of St. John, He will find that he has made use of this Text to confirm an Hypothesis which runs through all his writings; that God having decreed to save Mankind in the Mediator Jesus, He is the first of the Elect, the first of the de­cree, [Page 80]and in that sence consequently before Abraham, and all Men besides; but this still upon the suppo­sition of the Union of the two Natures in his Person, which if these Gentlemen had observ'd, they durst not so much as have nam'd him, nothing in the World overthrowing their Doctrine so effectually as this. The 1. Pet. 1.20. and Rev. 13.8. are altoge­ther foreign to the question. They regard his Office but not his Person; His mediation in the be­half of us Sinners, but not his Nature.

The 3d Part of the Answer that the Jews did not apprehend Christ, and that he did not intend, or care they should, is a Proposition, which, if admitted, ruines the whole Oeconomy of the Gospel. It makes the God of Incomprehensible Mercies to be guilty of the most refin'd sort of Cruelty, to proffer the Patient a Me­dicine which must undoubtedly Cure him, and at the same time, to make him incapable of taking it. Certain­ly they cannot but see the horrour of such an Answer.

Before I leave this Text I must take notice of the words of the Author spoken of Abraham, with so much caution, and to so little purpose. He saw it, says he, as coming, not as present; He foresaw as he desir'd the time that it should be. The nature of Pro­phecy is to make present to the sight of the Prophet that which by being future is wholly out of his reach. It is that which makes it miraculous. But in the case of Abraham he did not only desire, but had a clear Re­velation of the day of Christ. He saw it, and the in­effable prospect of the glory of the Messias and of the Infinite Blessings Mankind was to receive by him, fill'd him with an incredible Joy. This is the true sence of the place.

But what can more substantially evince the Pre-ex­istence of Christ before all things, than that all things are created by him? That he has given Being to whatsoever exists: That he is not only their Creator [Page 81]but also their Preserver, and that whatsoever exists is maintain'd and supported by him. What will be­come of that poor assertion which fixes his Existence to the first moment of his Conception, if it can be made plain, that he was before any thing that is, and existed before any thing did exist. For the effect na­turally supposes the Pre-existence of the cause. Any work that is done implies the being of the Workman who did it; and if the World is created by Christ; If the Scripture fully and clearly teaches him to be the Creator of the World, The Socinian foundation must be sandy and ruinous.

The Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1st Chap. v. 2. says positively, that Christ made the World. He has in these last dayes spoken to us by his Son by whom also he made the Worlds, [...]. But here we are stop't short by the Au­thor of the Brief Hist. pag. 41. who tells us, That Grotius, the irrefragable Grotius, says, that we translate ill by whom, and that we should read for whom: That it was a Maxim amongst the Jews that the World was made for the Messias. If this fails, he tells you that others insist that this is an allegory; that [...] must be translated Ages, by which are meant the Gospel Ages or times. Thus sinking Men grasp at any thing that appears, let it be shadow or substance.

With what considence can Men substitute a reading contrary to all the Translations extant, which read by whom? Per quem, says the old latin, the Syriac and all the Fathers. To prove the truth of their Transla­tion, they have an empty notion that it was believ'd amongst the Jews, that the World was made for the Messias, which indeed is the opinion of a few late Rab­bins, follow'd in this by Grotius, who in his inter­pretation of the Scripture has wholly departed from the ancient Jews. Whereas if these Gentlemen de­sire [Page 82]it, It will be made out, that it is the constant tradition of the Jews, that the World was made by the word, the Son of God. This destroys the Allegory to all intents and purposes; and really it is so raw, and so dragg'd, that it easily destroys it self. If there were no place but this for the Creation of the World, or of the Worlds, or of the Ages, for these are all one, they might, with more colour, fly from the letter to the Trope. But we may say, that there is scarce any thing in the Scripture more inculcated than this.

Through Faith, says St. Paul, Heb. 11.3. We un­derstand that the Worlds were fram'd by the word of God. Heb. 1.8. But unto the Son he says, thy Thorne, O God, is for ever and ever ....... and thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy hands: They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they shall wax old as does a garment, and as a vesture shall thou fold them up, and they shall be chang'd, but thou art the same, and thy Years shall not fail. There is then 1st, A general assertion of the Apostle. We believe that all that is, has been made by the word; and this, as a true Creator, without any pre-existent matter. So that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 2ly, He brings the Almighty speaking to the Word, to his Son, and thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth. Is this a Trope, an Allegory, or a reality? Is it a real or a Metaphorical founding of the earth, and working the Heavens? Do created beings perish and decay really or Metaphorically? Is the World's destruction real, or only Figurative?

No Man ever indulg'd his fancy to that degree as to call this an Allegory: It is then a real and actual Creation. Thou hast laid the foundation of the earth. It was done in the beginning, before any thing did exist, or began to be. The consequence then is as [Page 83]bright as the sun, that as he who has given a begin­ning to any thing, is before that thing which he has given a beginning to; so Christ is pre-existent and be­fore all created beings, since it appears by the express Authority of the Scripture that he has given a being to the whole Creation. I pass by that Elegant De­scription of an Eternal Being, who is always the same incapable of change, and not mov'd even in the gene­ral destruction of all things.

But hold, says the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 17. You are in a mighty mistake. This seems in­deed appli'd to Christ Heb. 1.10. But Thomas Aquinas observes that it may be understood of God only, not Christ. Grotius tells you, and so do Estius and Camerarius that this Text must be referr'd to v. 13.

Hold again says the Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn pag. 10, 11. This is an Allegory, and must be understood as the new Heavens, and the new Earth spoken of, Esay. 65.17. and 66.22. 2 Pet. 3.13. Revel. 21.1. which all the Trinitarian Interpre­ters have understood of the Gospel state of things in opposition to the Jewish, which is antiquated and done away; agreeable to the assertion of Christ Matt. 24. If this is not satisfactory, there is another shift ready. He tells you, That others of his party take this as an Apostrophe, conversion, and devout address to God, not intended of our Saviour.

The Allegory has so much the more weight, that it comes from the Allegorical Hugo Grotius, to whom may be appli'd what the 5th General Council said of Theodore of Mopswest, that rather than be convinc't, He would turn the plainest truths into Allegories. But for all that, these Gentlemen are in the wrong. St. Peter speaks of the end of the World, and of the destruction of all things in the last day. The 24th of St. Matthew is of the same strain; and though several [Page 84]learned Men have understood these places of the de­struction of Jerusalem, yet they have agreed that it contains also that of the whole World. Christ answers his disciples first, says Tertullian de Resurr. car. fol­low'd in this by very many of the Fathers, of the time of the ruine of Jerusalem, and then of the end of the World.

The notion of the Apostrophe, or address to God, is scarce worth any notice, and time is too precious to spend it in answering trifles of that nature. It is like that of Socinus, and I believe flows from it, that these words are not spoken of the Son, because with the conjunctive particle and, there was not, rursum, again. An ordinary measure of common sence will shew the vanity of this. Let ten thousand People read this Chapter, and these two Verses in particular, But to the Son he says, Thy Throne O God ... and thou Lord in the beginning hast laid, but will think them to be spoken to the same Person. No not that plain Countryman who hearing his Parson read these words of St. Paul, thought it not robbery, did fancy that the It, was not in the Original. Ans. to Mr. Milbourn pag. 36.

I must beg these Gentlemens Pardon, If I am forc't to say, that they are guilty, in their Disputes, of an un­parallel'd Injustice. The Scripture speaks of a real Creation. It mentions one also which is Allegorical. Some Interpreters, and not all the Interpreters, ac­cording to their large way of talking, have understood the places which they have cited out of Isaias and the Revelation of this last, Therefore right or wrong, they must be appli'd to the first. Rather than give up the Argument, they will give over the litteral sence of a Text which is capable of no other; and run to the Metaphorical which by no means can agree with it. It is confest on all hands, that the Prophet in the words in dispute; speaks of a real, actual Creation, [Page 85]and of a real, actual Destruction of the Word. It is also confest, that the words are addrest to the real actual Creator of the World, to that Eternal God, who in the change and alteration of all things, is him­self incapable of change. This they themselves do not deny. The Apostle brings in the Father speaking to his Son; attributing to him that real actual Crea­tion, as to the real, actual Creator; and because this is plain, evident, and unanswerable, then the Apostle must be made to speak in an Allegorical and Figura­tive way. This is such a method of arguing, which, I durst almost say, is scandalous. I honour Grotius, but I would borrow an impertinence of no Man to elude a visible Truth.

That this Doctrine of the real and actual Creation of all things by Christ is not deliver'd obscurely, or by the by, but is the constant and universal Doctrine of Scripture, appears from Colos. 1.15. and foll. v. Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of e­very Creature: For by him were all things created that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whe­ther they by Thrones, or Dominions, or Principalities, or Powers: All things were created by him, and for him, and be is before all things, and by him all things consist. There is not a word in this but what invincibly proves the question, and this after so clear a man­ner, that it leaves no room for Allegories, figures or any such poor shifts. Passing by the first expression, the image of the invisible God, of which we shall have a further occasion to speak; The Apostle says positively of Christ, that he is the first born of every Creature, that is, born before all Created Beings, which is the true rendring of [...] Primogenitus om­nis Creaturae, reads the old latin, that is, genitus ante omnem creaturam says Tertullian lib. de Trin. born before any creature. The passage of that Father is home to the thing. It was before any of these dis­putes, [Page 86]and shews exactly the sence of the Western Church in the Primitive Times. Quomodo Primogenitus esse potuit, nisi quoniam secundum Divinitatem ante omnem creaturam ex Deo Patre sermo processit? How could he be the first born, but that in respect of his Divine nature The word proceeded from God the Father before any thing was created? Origen. lib. 2. contr. Cels. to an ob­jection made by Celsus, that he whom we assure to be God, and suppose to suffer so willingly, could not forbear cryes and lamentations, answers, That he does not discern the difference of the Scriptures Ex­pressions: That Christ speaks sometimes as Man, and sometimes as God. We have laid down, says that Fa­ther, who also writ before these disputes and shews the sence of the Eastern Church, that in Jesus those ex­pressions are to be found which belong to none but him who is born before any creature, such as is, I am the way, the truth, and the life; others again which belong to none but to Man, such as is, but now you seek to kill me, a Man who has told you the truth. The firstborn here then is not the must beloved, though understood so by the Hebrews and Hellenists in several places, nor in re­spect of the Resurrection from the Dead, as St. Paul calls him, or in relation to his dignity as David is stil'd, Ps. 68.27. but in regard of his antemundane existence, of his Eternal nature, according to his Divinity, say both Origen, and Tertullian.

Nor indeed can it be otherwise. For by him were all things created. The first born can have here no o­ther sence then born before all created beings. Or else how could all things have been created by him. He is call'd [...], says the great and holy Arch­bishop of Milan, that by the words born, and begotten, he may be distinguisht and excluded from all that is made or created.

The Apostle not only asserts his creating power, and his actual excercise of that power in general, by [Page 87]saying, that he has created all things; but he also descends to a most exact enumeration of created be­ings; Those that are in Heaven, those that are in earth, those that are visible, those that are invisible; even the Heavenly Hierarchy, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, and Powers.

He repeats it again with this addition, that as Christ is the beginning, he is also the end of all Crea­tures, the Alpha and the Omega, a name which God alone assumes. He gives a being to all that is, and none is but by him. But at the same time himself is the end of all their operations. It is for his glory that they are created. All things are created by him and for him.

He sums up the whole and asserts anew that he ex­ists before any thing created, and by him what is created is preserv'd. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

I wish these Gentlemen would shew me the differ­ence between these last words, and by him all things consist, and those of the Apostle, Act 17.28. in him we live, and move, and have our being, which they own to be spoken of the Almighty. I would beg of them to tell me whether any part of Scripture, even the 1st of Genesis is more exact, more litteral, more circum­stantiated then this? I pray them, if this be not a real Creation, and a real Creator, to let the World know by what plainer terms they can be inform'd. I shall be thankful to any who will satisfy me substantially, whether any thing that is said here can agree with the Son of Mary, if he has no existence but that of the nature which he had of his Mother.

I protest I am asham'd to repeat what the Author of the Brief Hist. calls an answer to this pag. 38. 1st, He says, That Christ is call'd the first born of e­very Creature not absolutely, as if he was in being before all other Creatures, but the meaning is, he [Page 88]is the first born from the dead of all God's Crea­tures .... that thus in this very context is the first born explain'd. v. 18.

That Christ is call'd in the 18. v. the first born from the dead is freely acknowledg'd, not only for the reason alledg'd by them, that he rose to dye no more, but many other more solid which they have not exprest for fear they should interfere with the belov'd System. But what is this to the purpose. Christ is the first-born all the wayes that the word can be under­stood in. He is the first-born from the dead, because the first of all Men, he rose from Death to Life, af­ter so miraculous a manner. He is the first-born of every Creature, because he exists before any created being. I deny that the 18. v. has any relation to this. The design of the Apostle is to shew, that Christ in all things has the pre-eminence. He has it in the na­tural order of things, because he is superior and antecedent to them. He is born before all Creatures. He has it in the Mystical and spiritual order, because he is the head of the body the Church. He is the be­ginning the source of all Grace. He is the foundati­on of our peace. He is the first born from the dead, the first and great instance, the visible assurance of that glorious immortality God has promis'd to our obedience. But it is a fallacy usual in these Gentle­men's Writings to reason à dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter, to turn a particular into a general interpretation.

But 2ly, says the Author of the Brief Hist. in the page cited; these words, for by him were all things cre [...]ed, are not spoken of Christ but of God. I com­mend them to own that those things can be said of none but God. This in their own confession proves Christ to be God, for all this is said of him. What? Have these Gentlemen receiv'd from above a power to put out People's Eyes, and to invert the sence of [Page 89]all Mankind? The contents lye thus; Who, God, has deliver'd us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the Kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have re­demption through his blood even the forgiveness of Sins. Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of e­very Creature: For by him were all things created that are in Heaven .... All things are created by him and for him, and he is before all things ... and he is the head of the body the Church, &c. I say what I have said before. Let this be read to ten thousand Men, and I give up the cause, if any one of them who is not quite void of sence does not confess, that this is spoken of the Son. The mistake of those Gentlemen is so much the worse, because it is willfull, the Particles us'd here, which join the whole, and make it all of a piece, and, for, by, rendring it altogether impossible.

3ly, The Author says again, that the most learned and Critical of our Interpreters do not think that Creation is in this attributed to Christ. He cites some mordern, and even some Fathers, who do not read Created, but Modell'd. The sence which he makes is this, That the Lord Christ is said to Model, or order all things on Earth, because of the great change he has introduc'd, abolishing Judaism, and Paganism, and introducing Christianity in their stead. He new order'd or modell'd the Thrones ..... and other Angelical Orders in Heaven, in that he became their King, and their Head, whereas before the were immediately under God, and gives them from time to time such Orders as to him seems good.

Thus that ingenious Man flyes from branch to branch without finding where to rest. He has found this in Grotius, and has taken it up for want of some­thing more solid. If this way of criticising is allow'd, there is nothing in Scripture capable of a litteral sence. A warm Fancy, and a great deal of Confidence will make the Sacred Book a continu'd Metaphor. How [Page 90]easy would it be to do that with the first Chapter of Genesis, which those Gentlemen have done with this, and indeed with any thing in Scripture which is never so litteral? He has cited Athanasius, and Cyril; but not the places where they read Modell'd. Till they are quoted, what can be said to it, is, that it cannot but be known, even to them, that both these Fathers, with all the ancients, and even the Arrians themselves, acknowledge Christ the Creator of the natural World. But if Grotius, The Jesuit Selmero, and Montanus have read, Modell'd, I cannot see what ad­vantage comes to their cause from the rendrings of private Men. All the Greek Copies read Created. The old Latin, Created. All the publick Translations that I know in the World read Created. I am not sensible that there is any one place in Scripture where the word [...] is not render'd Creation, and [...] Creator. Nor do I understand why it should be Modell'd here, and not every where else? Must we say Rom. 1.21. That the invisible things of him from the Modelling of the World are clearly seen; and not from the Creation? Rom. 8.19.21. The earnest expectation of the thing Modell'd waits for the manifestation of the Children of God. The Modell'd it self shall be deliver'd from the bondage of corruption. For the whole Modellship groaneth and travelleth untill now. must we say, 1 Pet. 4.19. committ the keeping of their souls to him as unto a faithful Modeller. Many more instances of this kind might be produc'd, which if thus translated, and why not thus in other places as well as here? are down right impertinence.

But granting that rare word Modelling, still it does not ruine but suppose the Pre-existence. He is before all things, and by him all things consist. The things spoken of here are not reduc'd only to the preaching of the Apostles. It includes that of the Prophets, and reaches to all the Types of the Messias. [Page 91]The Figures were to be Modell'd as well as the reali­ties. Not only the Generation which comes after Christ is sav'd by him; but also that which preceeded him. Christ then being the Saviour was to be the Modeller of both. David and Solomon were Figures of Christ, He must therefore have been before them to Modell them. Joshua and Moses are said by all the Fathers to have been eminent Types of the Holy Jesus. He must then of necessity have preceeded him to Modell him. Adam was also a Figure of Christ, and conse­quently to be Modell'd by him. The natural Heaven and Earth are a shadow of the new Heavens, and the new Earth, wherein dwells righteousness; Therefore Modellable by the Saviour. Therefore he must have existed before them to Modell, and to speak this Au­thor's own words, to order, dispose and prepare them to answer those great ends for which they were created.

I will say to the acute Author of this History once for all what the Answerer to Doctor Wallis tells that Reverend Person, pag. 17. This may be call'd a fine­ness, (He means a finenesse) a subtlety, a querk, nor an accurate reasoning, or a solid and true Answer. And pag 18. But so it is, that they that maintain a false Opinion, must answer to the present Exi­gent, sometimes this thing, sometimes the contrary. Only truth is stable, coherent, consistent with it self, always the same.

I will end this Letter with that wise reflexion, and so remain,

SIR,
Your Most humble Servant. L.

THE Third LETTER.

SIR,

WHAT has been said concerning the Pre-existence of Christ is enough to overthrow the Socinian System, and supposes his Pre-eternity. We have this advantage, that the one proves the other. For if nothing is before time but what is Eternal, there being no duration conceivable by us, but Time, and Eternity: shewing, that Christ existed before Time it self was, implies his Eternal Being. That by him all things were created the Arrians themselves could not deny, forc'd to it by the great evidence of the Texts alledg'd before. But whatsoever creates is infinite in the general confession both of Divines, and Philosophers. It supposes an unlimited power in the agent which nothing can resist and every thing must obey; at whose Call matter is produc'd and presents it self to be actuated into what form he pleases. But if whosoever creates is infinite, and Almighty, and whosoever is infinite and Almigthy, is also Eternal, The same Texts which so evidently prove the Creation of all things by him, do also prove his Eter­nity.

But even passing by all this, I presume to say, that if Christ's Eternal Being is not clearly and plainly de­liver'd in Scripture, there is nothing plain, or clear in the World. I will begin by the 1st of St. John. An Authority of that weight and extent, that all that is [Page 93]dispersed in the other Books of the Sacred Writers concerning the nature of Christ, seems to be collected in this. There is no complaint here of mutilation of Sentences, of alteration of words: As it was de­liver'd at first, so it has been preserv'd, a clear and a lasting testimony of this Sacred Doctrine.

I admire what makes the Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn pag. 20, 21. so angry with St. Jerom for saying that at the request of the Asiatick Bishops, St. John Writ his Gospel to assert the Divinity of Christ; which this Father pretends not to assure upon his own credit, but that of the Church's History. This Au­thor says, That Irenaeus 200 Years older then St. Jerom, is silent about it. That Origen the great searcher of the Monuments of Antiquity gives no such account; and Eusebius himself, who has pre­serv'd what is said here of Origen, who besides had read Hegesippus, and whatever History St. Jerom could have read, says, that the design of St. John in wri­ting his Gospel, was to supply the omissions of the other three Evangelists.

Yet after all this the learned World knows, that St. Jerom was a serious and a candid Person; of a tem­per not to impose, or be impos'd upon; of a quick apprehension, vast parts, prodigious reading, well ac­quainted with the affairs of the Eastern Church; and of whom it is not imaginable, that he would either cite a Book which he had not seen, or give credit to a History that had not been genuine, and authentick. The answerer calls it in vain, A Legend, a Fiction, a great Romance. of an Ecclesiastical History cited by St Jerom, and seen by no body but himself.

No Man of sence or learning will believe any thing of this. A negative proof goes a great way, but it must be better grounded then this. Irenaeus does not say it, it is true, but he says nothing to the contrary. He speaks of the place where the Gospel was writ­ten, [Page 94]but not a word of the occasion of St. John's wri­ting it. The testimony of Origen is resolv'd into that of Eusebius who reports it, and that of Eusebius him­self is nothing against St. Jerom; since the Author of the answer owns that the same Eusebius relates this writing of the Gospel of St. John to assert the Divi­nity of Christ from the institutions of Clem. Alex. Who is in the right then? The Author of the Answer, who says that St. Jerom cited an Ecclesiastical History which he never saw, or St. Jerom who by the Author's own confession has taken these words out of Clemens pre­serv'd by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History. The case is very plain. The Author of the Answer to Mil­bourn is mistaken.

But then he must fall foul upon Clemens Alexand. an ancient Writer and a Learned Man. He makes Photius, upon whose Characters of Men, no Critick ever rely'd, to give him a very ill one; Not observ­ing that Eusebius accuses him of neither Impiety, nor Error; and that Clemens Alex. has said nothing in this but what most of the Fathers have said, not in­deed as to the particular matter of fact of St. John's being desir'd to write, but as to the other, that the design and principal part of his Gospel, is to assert the Divinity of our Saviour. Is it not on this that St. Cyprian, Lactantius, Tertullian, Gregory the Nazianzene, St. Chrysostom, Basil the Great, have insisted? Was not this very Chapter admir'd both by Christians and Heathens? Was it not the Hammer of Arrianism in the Council of Nice, as afterwards of Nestorianism, of Eutychianism, and of all the unhappy Sects which di­sturb'd the peace of the Church?

But that cannot be, says the Answerer, pag. 22. The Gospel it self will best decide the Question. If St. John has more overthrown the Divinity of Christ, than confirm'd it, then certainly he has not writ this Gospel to assert it. Right! but how will [Page 95]this be prov'd? He thinks that it will easily be done, by shewing out of this Gospel that Christ is the Messenger of God, that the Father taught him, and com­manded him. Joh. 17.1, 2, 3. Joh. 12.49. and 14.10, &c. This I confess proves the humanity, but how does it destroy the Divinity of Christ? How is it a­gainst the design of St. John to delineate him truly God, because he has represented him truly Man? He is not God because he is Man, is an ill way of arguing. The Arrians themselves were too sharp to fetch their Arguments against the Divinity of the Saviour from his humanity. Prove him only a Man, a meer Man, without any other nature, or else all this reasoning is a begging of the Question.

But what is all this to the accusation laid on St. Jerom? St. John has shew'd in his Gospel the Huma­nity of Christ. Therefore St. Jerom is in the wrong to assure that he was intreated by the Asian Bishops to speak more expresly to his Divinity. This is at best a sort of a very slender consequence.

Thus it is, Sir, that the Socinians are baffl'd by false and senceless translations supported by fictions and legends, exclaims this Author! He should have said, thus it is, Sir, that the Socinians are mistaken; Their, zeal for their opinion transporting them too far. Thus it is, that two Eminent Fathers are abus'd who were the admiration of their Age and the veneration of ours!

The truth is, this Chapter pinches so hard, that these Gentlemen are always uneasy at its least ap­proaches. They have done all that Men can do to make it ineffectual, having left nothing unattempted, no turns of wit, no strains of fancy, no observations, no Criticisms, no Shifts, no Evasions; But all to no purpose. For truth is great and irresistible; it is plain and evident; it comes from God, and easily o­vercomes all the oppositions Men make against it.

Joh. 1.1. and foll. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. That this is spoken of Christ, and that Christ is the word is agreed of all hands. The first assertion then of the Evangelist is, that Christ was before all things; that he existed be­fore they had a beginning. There is a great Emphasis in the word was, which does not express here a crea­ted a dependent being, but a Superior, an Eternal and Divine Nature. Thus Jehovah render'd by the Greeks [...], who is, gives the true notion of God; and thus it is said of the word that he was, [...], as the Greek Fathers explain'd it, did subsist in a most eminent way, and incommunicable to a Creature.

To make this good, St. John says, that he was with God. He could not exist in any Creature whatever, let it be never so great, noble, or perfect, because he existed before any thing was Created, before the World was. Joh. 17.5. He could not be in time, be­cause no time was yet, when he was. Therefore he was in God, and with God from Everlasting. Who before all Ages, says the great Ignatius, a Man of the Apostolick times, Epist. ad Magnes. was with the Father, and was manifested in the last times. The un­changeable word, says St. Austin, Epis. 49. quest. 2. residing unchangeably with the unchangeable Father. From thence the Greek Fathers understood the admirable description of wisdom to be of no other, then the E­ternal word, the Son of God. Prov. 8.22. and those expressions, I was set up from Everlasting, from the be­ginning, or ever the earth was, before his works of old, when there were no depths, I was brought forth, I was by him, I was by his sides says the Chaldee Interpreter, all these ex­pressions they understood to be no other then this, and the word was with God.

This is so plain that I cannot but wonder at the Stir these Gentlemen make about the words Inexist­ence, [Page 97]Eternal Generation, Personality; as if they were hard and unknown terms, the result of Men's Fancies, and a Jargon, as they are pleas'd to call them. The word, or the Son, for they own these words to be Synonymous in Scripture, is said to be from ever with God. Therefore he exists in God, and I think this is Inexistence. A Father and a Son, naturally and of necessity suppose a Generation; or else they can be neither Father nor Son. This is Generation. The Father and the Son are both Eternal, therefore the Generation must be so too. But the Father is not the Son, nor the Son is not the Father, therefore there is a foundation for Personality.

The Evangelist proceeds and lays this 3d Axiom, declaring the Divinity as he had done before the E­ternity of the word; and the word was God. What can be more express, or positive? What consequence can be more natural? The word was in the beginning, or ever the Earth and the World was. He was with God, and existed in him; Therefore he must be God, and the word was God. But the Divine Nature is one, and incapable of division. It cannot be multipli'd without destruction. Therefore if the Father is God as it is confest of all hands, and if the word is God, as the Evangelist fully and plainly asserts it, there must be more than one Person, in that one, single and indi­visible Deity. These persons must be Co-eval, Co­eternal, Consubstantial.

This shews how mean and low, how strange and far from the Question is the Answer, or rather the Subterfuge of these Gentlemen, which they are never weary of obtruding, that Christ is call'd God, as Moses and Solomon were, and as Magistrates and Princes. I beg the favour, if we do nothing but catch at the word God, as they are pleas'd to say we do, to shew me in the sacred Writings some such place as this for Solomon and Moses. Does any of the Evan­gelists [Page 98]or Prophets say in the beginning was Moses, and Moses was with God, and Moses was God? In the begin­ning was Solomon, and Solomon was with God, and So­lomon was God? They cannot but be sensible how such reasonings might be expos'd.

But though what St. John has said is enough to pre­vent all objections against the Sacred Doctrine, and leave no room for Arrianism, Sabellianism, and Soci­nianism, yet he prosecutes the Argument, and gives us sensible proofs of his Divinity whom he asserts so positively to be God. The same was in the beginning with God. A repetition of great weight which unites all that has been said before to what is to be said after. The word who was in the beginning, The word who was with God, The word who was God, is the same who made all things. v. 3. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Creation of the World, that is, of all spiri­tual and material substances, and in a word of all that is, is a most sensible and convincing Argument of a Deity. A work so transcending all finite capaci­ties, that the true God is distinguisht by this from them who pretended to be, but are really no Gods. Isay. 45.12, 18. The assertion of Heb. 3.4. is true both in Divinity and Philosophy. He that built all things is God. None but the supream God can do it. Now in what more litteral and accurate way of expres­sion than this, can this creating power be attributed to the word? 1st, You have an affirmation of as great an extent as the whole World it self. All things were made by him. 2ly, Even to prevent the least imagi­nation, that perhaps something was which might have another Author, and be the emanation of some other being, there is the most pregnant, positive and par­ticular Negation that can be; and without him was not any thing made that was made. How long shall Men [Page 99]give the lye to their own reason, and so far espouse an Opinion as to contradict the clearest truth? He that made all things is truly God. Therefore since we are assur'd that Christ made all things, and that nothing was made without him, he is truly, and really God.

V. 4, 5. St. John says, In him was life and the life was the light of men. To live is the prerogative of the most High, for whereas all other beings borrow their life from him, he lives independently from them. In this sence he is call'd eminently the Living God. Christ then is the principle of life and of light; whatsoever lives, lives by him. He is original Life in the order of nature, because by him Man was made, Gen. 1.26. He is truly Life in the order of Grace, Joh. 14.6. I am the life. He is our Life, even when we are dead, Joh. 11.25. I am the Resurrection and the Life. He is our life in the order of Glory. 2 Joh. 5.20. The true God and Eternal Life. A place we shall examine fur­ther.

V. 6, 7. The Evangelist adds, that the greatest a­mongst the Sons of Men, the other John, Matt. 11.11. was sent by God to bear witness that he was come into the World; and for fear Men should be apt to mistake this Messenger of God, for the God himself whose Messenger he was, having so many qualificati­ons above other Men; He tells us v. 8. that John was not that light. But v. 9. that the word of whom he has made such an admirable description was that true light, [...], that original, that essential light that was to come, which has no begin­ning, suffers no decay, and diffuses it self so as in some measure or other to enlighten every Man.

V. 10. He tells us that he made himself visible to the World. He was in the world. He repeats again, that the World was made by him; and to shew the blindness, and ingratitude of the World, he says, that though [Page 100]he was the Maker and Creator of the World, yet the world knew him not.

He aggravates this v. 10. He came into his own, a­mongst those very Men whom he had made, who were his by a must undoubted title, even that of Creation; and yet his own receiv'd him not, refusing the adorati­on and obedince due to him.

V. 12. To such as receiv'd him, even to them that be­lieve in his name, gave he power to become the Sons of God. He who is the Eternal Son by Nature, assum'd them to the dignity of Sons by Adoption.

From all that the Evangelist has said the Eternity and Divinity of the word are clear. That he is the supreme God, the Creator of all things, the Universal and only good of Man is plain and evident. All the difficulty is how he was in the World, came into the World, is the [...], he who was to come, to appear, to be seen in the World, the title given him both by the Prophets and Apostles. This the Evangelist re­solves v. 14. And the word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the on­ly begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth.

These Gentlemen who ask us with so much earnest­ness to shew them in the Scripture the words Godman, and Incarnation, may Easily satisfie themselves here. The word who was in the beginning, before the World was, who was with God, who was God, who has made all things; The word who is the true light the original life of all that is, who was announc't by the Prophets ever since the World began; who had for his Messenger the greatest amongst the Sons of Men, who is full of Grace and Truth, and of whose fullness we have all receiv'd, That word was made Flesh, assum'd our Nature, and became Man.

I will end the Explication of this place by these two remarks. 1st, St. John says he dwelt, the original [...], he Tabernacl'd amongst us. A plain allusion [Page 101]to the Tabernacle to which God was pleas'd to be present, or according to the Hebrew, to inhabit. In this sence the new Jerusalem is call'd, Rev. 1.3. The Tabernacle of God with men. The visible and glorious appearance of God amongst Men. God then is be­come visible in Christ Jesus. The word, the Eternal God, has made the human nature of Chirst the Tabernacle where he shews himself to Men. 2ly, That appearance is call'd by the Greeks glory; for so the septuagint, so all the sacred Writers in the New Testament, render it. Exod. 40.34. Numb. 16.42. 1 Sam. 4.22. 2. Chron. 5.14. Ibidem. 7.1. Isay. 6.1. Joh. 12.41. Matt. 25.31. Mark. 8.38. Luk. 2.9. Therefore as a proof of this appearance of God in the Flesh, St. John adds, and we beheld his Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father. Wherein the Particle as, [...] is not a Comparison, but an Explanation of that glory. And we have seen him present amongst us, with such declarations from Heaven, such a train of stupendous miracles, with such a glory as could become none but the only begotten Son of God.

I have been somewhat large on this place, because it is home to the question, those Texts being decisive, and staring in one's face. These Gentlemen are sen­sible of it, and have turn'd their Answers into se­veral shapes, and still with a kind of mistrust, owning and disowning, taking up, and laying down again, sometimes opposing the litteral sence, and sometimes obtruding a poor miserable Allegory.

The Author of an Answer to a letter of Dr. Wallis by his Friend touching the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, consults in the letter one of these Gentlemen who gives him several explications of this place. The first is that which he calls the ancient Orthodox sence at the Council of Nice, and afterwards of some cen­turies. The second of the Modern Orthodox. The third that of the Arrians. All pag. 9. The fourth is [Page 102]attributed to Paul of Antioch, as he remembers it somewhere related by Melanchton, which he owns to be uncouth and strange, pag. 10. and the Socinian in­terpretation to be forc't and unnatural, because, says he, we have inbib'd from our youth, and even from our Cathechism contrary Expositions. The first is that of Grotius pag. 11. who being the only Man of repu­tation who has lent them Allegories, is upon every occasion call'd great and illustrious. He concludes by saying; I think I have said enough to convince any Man that is not extremely prejudic't that this is an obscure Scripture. For as every one of those sences finds some specious grounds in the Text, so never a one of them can clearly answer all the Ob­jections that are levied against them, and that of the Trinitarians, least of all.

It is then a Text which in his opinion cannot be ex­plain'd. This indeed is strange to a high degree, that a Writer divinely inspir'd, an Evangelist who lays the foundation of a Faith once deliver'd to the Saints, and which we are all oblig'd to embrace, is by no means to be understood. It is also very odd, that this should have seem'd clear to all the Ages before, and even to all the Christian Churches of this Age, which all agree in this though they differ in other points, and it should be dark and obscure now to this Gentleman. Admirable that some particular Wits should be made now so different from all Mankind, as to see what all the World before has not seen, and not to see what has been seen by all the World before.

He tells his Friend further, That Dr. Wallis has not done like a Divine, but like a censorious, he will not say a malicious Person, when he, Dr. Wallis says; if God says, The word was God, and The word was made flesh, shall we say, Not so, only because we cannot tell how? As if these sayings were so clear that they admitted no sence but his. He runs on [Page 103]in the difference between the word taken personally, which he says is but seldom, and impersonally, which he says is very often. He concludes, That they have reason to complain of forc't interpretations, depriving God of an incommunicable Attribute e­ven his Unity; and of defending their interpreta­tions with sad distinctions between the Essence and the Divine Persons, the threefold manner of Ex­istence in God, Hypostatical Union, Communication of Properties, &c.

This Gentleman is not sensible that he himself justifies Dr. Wallis. And that instead of a censorious, he represents him like a candid Man, when he tells them that is the How can it be, that they dispute a­gainst. Have they not been perpetually minded that we preserve inviolably the unity of God. That Three Persons subsist in one Divine Nature, because that one God has reveal'd it to be so. Let them deny the Revelation, if they can. But as long as they are angry with the Expositions of the Church concerning how it is; The Doctor is in the right, it is the How can it be, that they quarrel with, and upon which they deny the whole.

But after all this, what should we say if this Gen­tleman, who finds this chapter of St. John so obscure, and the Catholick interpretation, the most unreason­able of all, with never so little help, should find the one clear, and the other highly rational. He has himself shew'd us the way in the same Letter pag. 9. The consulting Friend reading to him the Drs. Letter he comes to this place John 1.1, and the 14. The word was God, and, The Word was made Flesh. This says the Gentleman, who was consulted, were to the pur­pose, If by this term, The word, could be meant nothing else but a Pre-existent Person, and by the term God, nothing but God Almighty the Creator of Heaven and Earth; and if taking those terms in [Page 104]those sences did not make St. John speak nonsence; and if by Flesh could be meant nothing but a Man, how excellent soever, and not a Mortal Man, sub­ject to infirmities; but all these things are other­wise.

Will this Gentleman stand to this? Will the Author of the Brief History, and the Answer to Mr. Milbourn, and the humble adorers of Grotius his strain'd and Alle­gorical Explications, put the thing upon this issue?

1st, He does not deny the word to signify a Person, but only a Pre-existent Person. Nor can he deny him to be pre-existent, since he was before all things began to be; since by him all things were made. 2ly, He cannot deny that the term God is meant of the Almighty, since the God with whom the word was is undoubtedly the Almighty, and the word being said here to be God, and God being but one, the word must be that Almighty God. 3ly, He will not offer to deny that the term, Flesh here is nothing but our hu­man Nature, and that the word made Flesh implies the word being made Man. This Author then has plain­ly answer'd himself, and ruin'd all that he pretended to say to his Friend. But as for this strange sort of an If, and if, says he, taking those terms in these sences, did not make St. John to speak nonsence, I will pray him to take to himself, what the Author of an An­swer to Mr. la Motte has gravely and justly say'd to him, pag. 3. That to speak so of the Apostles is ill manners, nay 'tis Unchristian and Impious.

But then comes the Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn. He will not have the Creation spoken of in this Chapter to be understood of the natural, but of the spiritual World. By the spiritual World he means the State of the Gospel, by the other, the spiritual World. He says pag. 26. That the Soci­nians commonly suppose that St. John speaks here of the New-Creation, even that great change of affairs [Page 105]in the World which has been so considerable that the Scriptures have divers times call'd it the new Heavens and the new Earth.

He begins the charge pag. 23. with a rule of Criti­cism, That the writers of the New Testament have a particular regard to the notions and Opini­ons of the Jewish Church, as also to the Customs and Forms of Speech in use amongst the Jews. This is one of these forms that the Messias, the Christ, call'd the word by their Chaldee Paraphrases, and by Philo the Jew, should make a new and a better World, and that the World was made for him. This the Gentleman has borrow'd from Grotius the only Friend in distress. Moreover they us'd the words El and Elohim which in Greek and in Eng­lish signifie God, of Angels, Kings, Magistrates, and all such as are extraordinary Messengers, or Mini­sters of God. This he calls Keys to let us into the sence of those Verses without multiplying Gods, as we do, or Creators as the Arrians have done.

He tells us, That in the beginning is not from the very first, from for ever, or from all Eternity. Moses beginning with the same words does not mean as we do. Moses means only in the begin­ning of the World; John means only in the begin­ning of the Gospel state. In the beginning was the word, He intends here to say in the beginning was the Messias, or Christ, whom the Jews call'd the word. That it is not easy to determine why the Jews gave the Messias the name of Word. But 'tis evident, why St. John does it, for as at v. 7, 8, 9. He calls him the light, because he was the bringer of the Gos­pel light, for the same reason he is content also to call him the word, because he was the Messenger of the Gospel word ..... which is indifferently to be call'd the Gospel, or the word of God. This you have pag. 24.

The word was with God, and the word was God. Here the Author grows somewhat hot, not to say, rude. He tells us, that his Opposers will not deny what e­very petty Grammarian knows, that we should have translated thus. The word was with The God, and, The word was A God. He claims this Translation as absolute­ly necessary for clearing the meaning of the Evangelist in that place. He says not the word was with God, but, with the God. Because [...], or The God is always us'd to signifie the true God, or him who is God by way of Excellence and Appropriation, as the Gram­marians speak. But [...], A God, is in Holy Scripture appli'd to Angels, to Kings, to Prophets ..... Moses is call'd so, and so must the Messias, who is no less than Moses, the Ambassador and Representative of God.

He was with the God. The meaning is, That before he enter'd on his Office he was taken up into Heaven, to be fully instructed and inform'd in the nature and quality of his Office.

Pag. 25. He says, Their Opposers have nothing to say to this Explication of these words, but they deny Christ to be Call'd God as Moses, because it is said, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made, and because, the World was made by him.

I tell you, Sir, it is very dangerous to have to do with Criticks. The Author says, that this is a bold Translation. He challenges us to deny, that the Greek preposition which is render'd by, might have been render'd for. Thus the sence should have been, All things were made for him; The world was made for him.

That that makes this Translation certain is, first that maxim, that the world was made for the Messias: and 2ly, That Irrefragable Argument, that there is no other Creator but God; and that the word [Page 107]being distinguish't from the God, and thereby deny'd to be the God, this Translation must hold good. You have this pag. 26.

The short is, says he, If St. John speaks of the old Creation, and of the visible World, then the Translation must run, All things are made for him, to preserve the allusion to the known saying of all things being made for the Messias. If he speaks of the new Creation, the World which the Messias should make, then the Translation must run, all things were made by him.

The rest, says he, is easy, "The word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us. "The Translation is ill. They should have render'd it, the word was Flesh. They render themselves the Greek word, v. 6. not, was made, but, was only. All this is put into a pretty Paraphrase.

At last he puts the case of the unlearned, and what they are to do who are not acquainted with those precious Criticisms. He resolves it by saying, that they must consult their reason, which will satisfy them that the Trinitarian Doctrine is impossible, pag. 28. He says, We do the same in the Case of Tran­substantiation: That Protestants must either come over to the Socinians, or revolt to Rome: That the decision of the Church, and the mere Letter of Scripture is against us. But if no interpretation of Scripture is admitted but what is consistent with reason, both Protestants and Papists must be Socini­ans. The Trinity, and Incarnation being more in­consistent with reason than Transubstantiation.

Now one should be apt to think that when an Au­thor undertakes to face all Mankind, that they are mistaken in the sence of a Scripture which they look upon to be the foundation of their Faith, and has not only the simple, and credulous, but the learned and understanding part of the World for 'its Defenders; [Page 108]He should bring some reason, so clear, so plain, so self evident that the contrary assertion must appear most unreasonable. This Answer has two unpardon­able faults. 1st, The Criticisms on which it is ground­ed are every one of them false. 2ly, It supposes that which is to be prov'd, the pretended impossibility of the thing. The sence of the Church, says he, can­not be admitted, because it is impossible. This is still the How can it be? If a Revelation is plain and express, and if all the Criticisms in the World cannot make it otherwise, it is to quarrell with the Almighty. It is in so many words the assertion of Dr. Wallis which they have exclaim'd against as an injustice done to them, and yet remains still true, that God say's, The word was God, and, the word was made Flesh, and they say, Not so, because they cannot tell how. Ans. to Dr. Wallis by his Friend pag. 11.

1st, For the Criticisms. It is a known Maxim a­mongst the Jews, says the Author, that the World was made for the Messias, and that the Messias should make the new World spoken of in Scripture by the new Heavens, and the new Earth, that is, the Crea­tion of the Spiritual World. Granting all this, what is it to the question in hand? Therefore he is not the Creator of the old World, is a strange way of reasoning. If they could prove, that it is inconsistent to be Creator of both, it would do them some service. The World was made for the Messias, therefore not by the Messias, is another wild consequence, since the World may be made by him, and also for him, that is, for his honour and exaltation amongst Man, as all things are made by God, and for God who is the Author, and the end of all things.

These Gentlemen own that the Messias was known to the Jews under the notion of the word: But they say it is not certain why they gave him that name. This will appear a vast mistake to any one who is [Page 109]never so little acquainted with their Writings. It is not my design to stuff these Papers with Jewish citations. It shall be done if required; But it is clear that they understood the Messias to be the Son of God, and that Son to be The word. The famous Philo in his Book of Quest: and Solut. makes the Deity to consist first, of him who is the Father of all things. 2ly, Of the other Person, or God, who is the [...], The word of the Father. He calls him in his Book, de agricul. The word proceeding from God, his first begotten Son. In his Book de flamm. Glad. The word is the in­strument of God by whom the world has been created. Ex­pressions deriv'd from the old Paraphrasts and Com­mentators. Thus Jonathan renders, Isay. 45.12. I made the Earth and created man upon it; I by my word made the Earth and created man upon it. Gen. 3.8. and they heard the voice of the Lord God, is explain'd by the Chaldee Paraphrast, and they heard the voice of the word of the Lord God. Gen. 1.27. and God Created man in his own image, the Interpreter reads, and the word of God Created man. These Paraphrases were the publick interpretations of the Jews, and this Doctrine so con­stant among them and particularly amongst the Helle­nists, that in the 2d Book of Origen contr. Cles. The Jew in whose person Celsus disputes owns freely, that the word is the Son of God. This Author then has neither understood, nor appli'd as it ought to be, the rule which he has laid down, that the Writers of the New Testa­ment had a particular regard to the Opinions and No­tions of the Jewish Church; and nothing is more vi­sible than this, that St. John, to prove the Creation of the natural World by Christ, and his Eternal being with the Father, has brought him under the notion of The word, to whom, by the constant Doctrine of the Jews, and after them of the Fathers, the Creation of the natural World was attributed.

This was one of the Keys to let us into the sence of [Page 110]these words. They have another, and that is that poor distinction between the God by nature, and a God by deputation. That the true God is the one; that Christ is the other. That to find out the God by nature, from the God by deputation, it is to be observ'd that the one is always call'd [...], The God. The other only, [...] a God. That the very Text in dispute shews it, where, The word was God is simply [...] without an Article; and where the word was with God, who certainly there is the supreme God, is with an Article [...], with the God.

Truly, Sir, the first Key was worth little, but this is worth much less. should I take upon me to offer a poor Criticism, I would say that if any one looks se­riously into the sacred writings, he will find that there is no care at all of observing Articles, and that of this, innumerable instances may be produc'd. This dis­tinction has been borrow'd from the Arrians, confuted and laugh'd out of doors by the Fathers, and is a poor, mean, miserable shift, without the least solidity in the World. It is overthrown to all intents and purposes in this very Chapter. V. 12. He gave them power to become the Sons of God, [...], without an Article. v. 7. There was a man sent from God. [...], with­out an Article, and yet both these undoubtedly spo­ken of Almighty God. V. 18. [...]. No man has seen God at any time, is without an Ar­ticle. Not to multiply instances of this without end; nothing shews more evidently the poverty and defici­ency of this Criticism, that the God by nature is always exprest with, and the false God, or the God by de­putation without an Article, than that Gal. 4.8, 9. where the true God is designedly oppos'd to the false, he is simply call'd God, without an Article. Howbeit then, when you knew not God, you did service to them who by nature are no Gods, but now that you have known God, or rather are known of God. The [...], and [Page 111]the [...], is without an Article. Nay Rom. 1.1, 4. even when God is oppos'd to Christ whom they make a God by office, he is then call'd God with­out any Article at all.

The Criticism of the Particle by, which should have been render'd for is as bad as this. I would beg this Author to produce any one Translation extant at this day, were [...], is not render'd by him, or any before Socinus who ever dreamt of a Gospel state, or a spiritual Creation out of these words of St. John. I would pray him to reconcile this Particle for with the latter part of this v. and without him was not any thing made that was made, and with v. 10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. It is another miserable shift, that the new Creation, the spiritual World, the World of the Mes­sias were things universally known to the Jews, and the Primitive Christians converted by them. Since it is undeniable that the Jews understood no Creation wrought by the word, but the natural, nor the Primitive Fathers ever explain'd these words of any other. It is strange that this should be so clear to the Jews, and to the Fathers, and yet that we should not find so much as the footstep of this spiritual, and a constant assertion of the natural Creation by the word. This Author is so sensible of this, that he does not know where to fix the beloved Criticism. If you speak, says he, of the natural World, it must be ren­der'd For. But if you speak of the spiritual, it must be render'd By. These Ifs are much like the Hints spoken of before, which Christ gave to his Disciples that he had been taken up to Heaven, before he came down to preach the Gospel

There is another Criticism of a vast importance. For if it be admitted, says, the Author, as it ought to be admitted, it turns the whole context against us, and utterly overthrows the orthodox Belief. [Page 112]We should have translated was Flesh, which makes, a vast alteration in the Question. He proves this by the 6. v. where [...], is render'd not was made, but, was. Yet after all this, This ingenious Man spares us the trouble of shewing the vanity of this, and gives up this Text. In the answer to the late Archbishop pag 54. we do not care at all, says he whether our Opposers read here, The word was made man, which is His Grace's reading, or as we do, The word was man.

2ly, As to their difficulties, The one is the case of the unlearned, the other is that of Transubstantiation. Upon the Question what the Unlearned must do in this difference of readings, he Answers, That he must stick to theirs, and that his reason will give him that it is the true, because the thing being impossible and contradictory, ours must be false. This is a plain begging of the question, and once more, it is to suppose that which they are to prove. This is still the How, with which we have nothing to do, and which all Mankind cannot resolve, because God proposes it as the great object of our Faith, and not of our reason. They ought to prove, that it is not reveal'd by all the ways by which a reading can be prov'd not to be true, as we do their pretended Cri­cisms; but not by imaginary consequences altogether foreign to the thing propos'd.

I conceive that there are two sorts of unlearned men. The one are absolutely illiterate and incapable of any examination not only of these disputes but even of points a great deal more obvious then these. A sort of people who are religious not by reasoning, but believing; not by inquiry, but Tradition; Not so much by the conviction of their minds, as an impres­sion of God's Grace upon their hearts. These can ne­ver be Socinians. They have a strong, and an invin­ible inclination to believe, as the Church believes. It [Page 113]is an unsuccessful undertaking to propose to them the various readings of a Text. The other are Men of a good natural and improv'd sence, of a better education, and of a freer conversation with all sorts of people; but yet destitute of learning to judge of things themselves. I say, that if they are equitable they are less in danger of being Socinians then the o­ther. A place of Scripture is alledg'd which not only the Church wherein we live, but all the Churches in the World have read, and understood in the plain sence which the words bear, and this from the beginning of Christianity, and there comes in this, or at the end of the latter Age a witty Criticiser who pretends to acquaint the World, that all the Holy and learned Men who have liv'd hitherto and live to this day have been surpris'd, and have surpris'd all Mankind, and that this place is not to be read or render'd as they have done, but as himself does; I say there is no equi­table Man, who though unlearned is yet a Man of sence or understanding, but will acquiesce in the receiv'd Doctrine, and look upon this new reading, or ren­dring, as a design or at least a mistake.

The case of Transubstantiation is yet more unrea­sonable; and yet These Gentlemen are never weary of urging it. If you will believe the Trinity, you must believe Transubstantiation. You reject the one because it is impossible; Therefore upon the same ac­count you must reject the other, This is my body is as express against you, as, the word was God, and the word was made Flesh is against us.

But 1st, Is it not a great injustice that these Gen­tlemen, who are as much against Transubstantiation as we are, and know that it is not to be found in these words, this is my body, should make use against us of a Topick which they themselves own to be false. There is not any one point in Religion which some Heretick or other has not attempted. There has not [Page 114]been an Heresy, if we believe St. Jerom, but has pretended to defend it self with some place of Scrip­ture. What should we say of one who believes none of their assertions to be true, and all the places which they cite to be misunderstood by them, and yet would make use of every one of them to prove that no part of Religion is true. This is exactly the case of these Gentlemen. They argue against us from a Doctrine which they detest, and would infer a parity from a Text which they are satisfy'd does not at all prove that which the Church of Rome would prove by it. Let them but go round with this, and in a short time there will be no such thing as Religion. God forbid that I should think that they design it, but this is the unhappy Consequence of that sort of Ratiocinati­ons.

2ly, The Author never consider'd the weight of his assertion, pag. 29. That in this point the decisions of the Church in Councils and the mere letter of Scri­pture are against us. For if the Church of Rome could make it out clearly and substantially, that the letter of Scripture, and the decisions of the Church, are of their side, not only we, and the whole body of Pro­testants, but these Gentlemen themselves, must go over to it. But either of them is false. There is no such thing as the letter or the mere letter of Scripture, or any decisions of the Church of any Antiquity for Transubstantiation. I appeal to this very Author for the truth of this, who however, in the height of dis­pute, has let this to slip from his pen, is too learned not to know the contrary.

3ly, If the dispute between us and the Church of Rome about Transubstantiation is truly stated it signi­fies nothing to the matter in hand, and that the ob­jection is really against them. There is no difference between us, as to the presence of Christ in the Sacra­ment. This is admitted by all the Societies of Chri­stians, [Page 115]who pretend to a name in the World. The French Protestants, who have stray'd in this particular from the Doctrine of the Fathers more than any other, have freely acknowledg'd it in the admirable writings of Mr. Claude, against the great Monsieur Arnauld. The sober Church of England, and Enemy to all extremes, has kept strictly to this, that Christ is truly, and in­deed in the Sacrament, without pretending to explain the manner of that presence. She has own'd that it is Divine, and Incomprehensible, and look't upon it as a Mystery, according to the name given to the Holy Sacrament, by the Fathers of Dreadful, Sacred, and Divine Mysteries. The Church of Rome, and some others, have presum'd to go further, and to six the manner of Christ's being in the Sacrament. I demand then with what equity these Gentlemen can make that Objection, and repeat it, with as much earnestness, as if they reason'd upon an undisputed Principle? The Trinity, and Incarnation, we believe: The How can it be, we acknowledge incomprehensible. We do the same of Christ's presence in the Sacrament. The Revelation concerning all this is plain, and express. We pretend to no more. It is disingenuous and obstinate to deny that any thing is, because we cannot shew how it is. Had we deny'd the presence of Christ in the Sacra­ment, the Objection had been of some force. But denying only Transubstantiation, that is, the manner of that presence; it is altogether wide of the question.

Having done with this Author, I pass to that of the Brief History, who did not think this Answer of Mr. Milbourn's Adversary solid enough to embrace it: But after some cursory animadversions on the Churche's Exposition, shelters himself under Grotius's Wings, and delivers that learned Man's Opinion. It is needless to transcribe it, all that he says, pag. 26, 27, 28. amount­ing to this;

Grotius understands, as we do, the Creation, here [Page 116]spoken of, to be that of the Natural World. He ex­plains the words, in the beginning, as we do, when God created all things, or when all things began to exist. He makes, as we do, that word to be not only Pre­existent, but Eternal. He understands, as we do, the word to be with God, and to be God. He reads, as we do, all things were made by him, and for him. He renders, as we do, The word was made Flesh, ac­knowledging that Flesh is the usual Scripture Phrase for Man, and saying also in the Explication of the 10th Verse, that in process of time the word come to be Incarnate.

You will say then, where does he differ from the Orthodox? For as yet nothing appears contrary to the sence receiv'd in the Christian World. He dif­fers only in this, that he makes this word to be only a property and an Attribute of God, i. e. his Wisdom and Power, but not a Divine Person. I wonder that this Author would embrace an Exposition which really ruines all their little Criticisms, their charming Allegories, and brings the question to this only dif­ficulty, whether the word is no more than an Attri­bute, or whether he is a Person? Whatever Grotius in other places has done for these Gentlemen, he has certainly given up the cause here by cleaving to the litteral sence of the words, which indeed he could by no means avoid.

I will only propose these difficulties. 1st, If the word here is no more than an Attribute or Property, how is he constantly spoken of here by he, and him. The world was made by him. The world knew him not. It is ridiculous to say, that it is in the same manner that Prov. 9.1. Wisdom is said to build her House, and David calls God's Commandments his Councellers; Since in those places is a visible and a design'd Meta­phor: But Grotius owns here a real, actual, natural Creation of the World, which admits of nothing Figurative.

2ly, If the word is no more than an Attribute of God, what can be the meaning of the Evangelist, In the beginning was the word, and the word was God? What is there in this so singular, and to what can this lead us? The Wisdom of God was before all things, and the Wisdom of God was with God. That is, God was wise before the World was Crea­ted. Certainly St. John means somewhat more than this. Why not in the beginning was the Power, the Mercy, the Truth, the Holiness of God, For all this God was before things began to be.

3ly, What can be the design of this, and the word was God. Who ever heard any one say, that Wisdom is God, and Power is God. Nor will it serve here to say, as the Author of the History, That all the Attributes of God, are God; or that the name, Jehovah, is attributed to Angels, and that Moses is call'd God. Either of these answers destroys the other. For if the Attributes of God are God, then Wisdom is the supreme God, and not as the Angels, or Moses. Or if Wisdom is call'd Jehovah, as the Angels, and God as Moses, then all the Attributes of God are not the Supreme God.

4ly, If the word is no more than an Attribute what can be made of this? He was in the world, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own receiv'd him not. Living in the World, unknown to the World, coming to, and rejected by Men can­not be said of Wisdom. If it could bear that sence, the Evangelist says nothing, since before the Gospel, before Moses, before the Flood, the Wisdom of God was despis'd by Men.

5ly, The following words can never be spoken in the sence of an Attribute. So many as receiv'd him to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them who believe on his name. Can sence be made of wis­dom giving us power, or believing in the name of wisdom.

6ly, If wisdom is no more than a qualification, how comes this and the word was made Flesh? I remember that these Gentlemen value themselves much upon this notion of the Author of the Impartial Account of the word Mystery, that they cannot believe the Tri­nity, because they can have no notion of a Trinity. I humbly beg a notion of Justice, Prudence, Holiness, or as here Wisdom made Flesh. I humbly beg a noti­on of an Attribute made Flesh.

7ly, And we beheld his glory, the Glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father. I again humbly beg to know, whether the Attribute Wisdom is the only begotten Son of the Father? I beg a notion of the Glory of God's Wisdom to be seen by human Eyes. No, says the Author, you mistake, it is the Glory of the Man on whom the word did abide. But I must beg his pardon, and tell him, that this is too great an imposition on the sence of Mankind. Any one who knows somewhat more than his A. B. C. knows that The word is the subject of all that is said here. It is of the word, that it is said, that he was in the beginning, that he was God, that he was with God, that he made the World, that he was made Flesh, that his Glory was seen as of the only begotten Son of God. He must not, He cannot admit the word to be the sub­ject of all the other Propositions, and deny him to be the subject of this.

I beg your pardon for having been so long on this Text. But the Answers of your Friends being of so great an extent, though of so different a nature, it was fit to shew how weak and unsatisfactory they ap­pear. I then prosecute the Argument, and offer some others to your consideration.

I think that nothing proves the Eternity of God so effectually as that place, Isay, 44.6. I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God. This Text is of the New as well as of the Old Testament. [Page 119]St. John begins his Revelation by wishing us peace from him which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Nor indeed can we have a clearer notion of that supreme being which we call God, than that he exists before and after all things, v 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Al­mighty. This is a Title which nothing that is Created can pretend to; and an Explication of the Sacred Name Jehovah, which in the sence of the He­brews extends to all the durations imaginable, and shews, that in the change of all things, he is per­manent and incapable of alteration.

This suppos'd, I conceive it obvious that if Christ assumes that name to himself; if he says of himself that he is the Alpha, and Omega, The first and the last; If he often takes that Title, willing to be known by it, making it the ground of a solid encouragement to his Disciples in their Sufferings for his sake, and if what he says can reasonably be diverted to no other sence, it cannot be deny'd that he is God with the Fa­ther. To see whether this is true, read Rev. 1.11. I am Alpha and Omega the first and the last, v. 17. Fear not, I am the first and the last, Rev. 22.13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last; and because these Gentlemen are so fond of Articles, and build such mighty things upon them, all this is spoken with the same Articles as in v. 8. when it is spoken of Almighty God: Which though in truth and reality is no proof at all, yet it is so to them who lay so great a stress upon it.

I will add two remarks to this. The 1st, is that acclamation which in both Testaments is made to none but God. v. 6. to him be Glory and dominion for ever, and Chap. 5.13. and every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I say­ing, [Page 120]Blessing, honour, glory and power, to him that sitteth on the Throne, and to the lamb for ever. The 2d. is that admirable description made of Christ, Rev. 19. which tells us, v. 13. that he has a vesture dip't in blood, and that his name is the word of God; that Eternal word which Grotius owns created the World, and all that is in it, which was made Flesh; and this same Prophet says, washt us in his own blood, after he had taken our nature upon him, who has on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written King of Kings and Lord of Lords, a title which belongs to none but God, which none but the Almighty can assume, He alone being the source of power, and from whom all other power is deriv'd.

All this the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 44. pre­tends to evade by saying, that v. 11. is not in the Latin, nor in any good Greek Copy. It is true, that it is not in the Latin, and that it is wanting in some few Greek Copies. But being that it is in so many o­ther places in all the Greek and Latin Manuscripts; It is disingenuous to accuse this particular place, and a candid opposer should have judg'd, that it can be Attributed to nothing but the neglect of the Tran­scriber. It is in all the aforesaid places, and besides Rev. 2.8. spoken by him who was dead, and is alive, who lives and was dead, and is alive for evermore.

A second Evasion, and really much worse than the first is what he says pag. 20. of the Brief Hist. to the 17. v. That Christ is the first and most honourable with good Men, and the last, the most despis'd by bad Men. He cites for this Hugo Cardinalis, from whom Grotius and Erasmus have borrow'd it. It is very diverting to see a learned Man as the Author of this History, to cite in these disputes Hugo Cardi­nalis, but what if the Cardinal, if Grotius, if Erasmus have understood these words in a manner so contrary to their real and natural sence, I ask what [Page 121]is it to the matter in hand? Is it less true because Erasmus and Grotius say, that it is not so? Will these Gentlemen be contented if instead of these three names we produce three hundred of a contrary Opi­nion, a whole Body of Scripture Interpreters who un­derstand the words in their litteral sence?

Briefly, says the Author again, pag. 21. Both Al­mighty God, and our Lord Jesus Christ are the first and the last, but in different sences. Why does he not alledge those sences? What corner of the Earth hides the precious Treasure? A Text is produc't which is ex­press, cogent, self-evident, liable to no little Criti­cisms; A title Attributed to Christ in its utmost lati­tude, without any exception, or restriction, capable of no reasonable sence but the literal, and instead of a substantial answer they tell us, that a certain Au­thor understands it so and so; that it is capable of different sences, and so bid us good night. Thus a­ny shift is made an Answer, and a bare assertion be­comes an Argument.

I have often endeavour'd to find out what might be the cause of so unfair a dealing in an Author who is certainly a Man of learning, and is as sensible as my self that the Interpretation of Hugo is ridiculous, and impertinent, and that a general Allegation is no An­swer. The true reason I take to be this. They have espous'd this notion, that the Trinity and Incar­nation are contradictory and impossible; read this Au­thor, pag. 44, 45. that is, not so much the thing as the manner, The How can it be. Thus when we who are satisfy'd that if the thing is plainly and clearly re­veal'd, it becomes the object of our Faith, and ex­cludes any further inquiry into the manner; when we bring those Texts on which no impression can be made, by denying a word, excepting against a Tran­slation, exclaiming against an Article, or a punctua­tion, citing any orthodox who by chance favours [Page 122]their explication of some particular Text, though o­therwise an utter Enemy to their Doctrine, they leave no stone unturn'd. But when a Text is alledg'd which as this stares in the face, then any thing will serve, they think that their strength is to sit still, and rather say nothing then not to the purpose.

What they say to this place Rev. 19.16. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is of the same nature. It is not only a magnificent description of the Almighty; but a notion also so universal, so innate to all Mankind, that from this the most illiterate see the necessity of their Obedience to his Laws. The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 44. says to this, that Christ is so Lord of Lords as that himself has one who is not only his Lord, but his God. He cites for this, Joh. 20.17. I ascend to my Father, and your Father, to my God and your God.

This is a bad reason and a Text misunderstood to support it. The reason is bad, for it is plain, that if there is a Lord over him, he is not the Lord of Lords. God is call'd in Scripture the God of Gods, and the assertion could not be true if there was a God a­bove him. Natural reason will teach any Man that none can be Lord of Lords but in an unlimited sence. Any other absolutely destorys the proposition.

He has misunderstood the place of St. John, which does not suppose any superiority in the Father above the Son; but only express the sameness of his nature with him; Christ shews how God is his Father, and how ours; His by nature in the same Deity, says Epiphanius Her. 69. and ours by Grace in the adoption. Which Text St. Cyrill Cathech. 7. and St. Chrysostom on this very place, explain after this manner. As he is his Father, so is he his God, and his God, because his Father.

I will conclude this Argument of Christ's Eternity by Joh. 17.5. And now, O Father, glorify thou me, with thy own self, with the Glory which I had with thee, before [Page 123]the world was. Grotius observes, that this expression before the world was, is the common notion which the Jews had of Eternity. Christ says in the preceeding v. that he has glorify'd his Father on earth. This Glory which he has acquir'd to God consists in finishing the work which he gave him to do. In this Verse he begs of the Father, that as a reward of this, he would also glorifie him. He asserts to what kind of honour he desires to be promoted, even that which he had with him before the World was. He had then an Eternal, an Essential Glory with the Father, which this same E­vangelist had before exprest by saying, that the word was with God. It is to this that he desires his blessed humanity to be rais'd. He had then before an E­ternal existence with God; For the word was God; and he claims that his mortal and passible nature my be assum'd to a participation of that honour, dignity, and glory which he had from all Eternity.

This Text is full and home. But it receives a great addition from Joh. 12.41. Where it is said, that Isaias saw his glory, and spoke of him. The Glory spoken of here is that of the Eternal God, Isay. 6.1, 2, 3. He describes not only his Throne and the numerous attendance of the blessed spirits, but the two Sera­phims, who covering their Faces with their Wings, cry'd one to another, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, a name which none but the true God assumes. v. 9. The Prophet receives his commission in the words repeated by St. John, which are a Prophecy of the incredulity and obstinacy of the Jews. St. John declares then the Prophecy to be fulfill'd. He does not leave us to conjecture of whom the Prophet speaks, but tells us plainly, that these things said Isaias when he saw his glory and spoke of him.

To this last Text the Auhor of the Brief Hist. answers 1st, That the most learned of the Orthodox Inter­preters, both Fathers and Modern, have confest that [Page 124]the words of St. John are to be understood not of Christ, but of God, For God only is intended in the foregoing Verse to which the words of this re­late. 2ly, That the best Greek Bibles read not his Glory, but God's Glory.

For the first, they must give me leave to observe again, that this is one of their boundless citations, and of those Characters of the most learned given at ran­dom, as this very Author, Brief Hist. pag. 11. has honour'd Dyonisius Petavius with the title of the most learned of the Jesuits, and another of these Gentlemen calls him the most learned of the most learned order, con­trary to the sence that his own Society has of the one, though otherwise a Man of great worth, and to the opinion which the learned World has of the rest. The reason which they give that God is only intended in the foregoing Verse, is nothing at all to the question. The difficulty is not neither, whether Isaias speaks of Christ; but whether it is of him that St. John says that Isaias speaks; and indeed he must be willfully blind, who does not see, that all this is said of him, who de­parted from them, v. 36. in whom they could not believe, v. 37. of whom all this was Prophesi'd, v. 38, 40. even Christ.

For the 2d, that the best Greek Bibles read God's, and not his; It is a great misfortune, that so few people can see those best Bibles, or read the most learned of the Interpreters, and that all the ancient Copies, that I know, extant, and all the Printed Editions read unanimously his, and not God's.

But his answer to the Text which occassion'd this, is much worse, to Joh. 17.5. he says, that the Glory which Christ says he had before the world was, is only meant in God's Decree. He adds, pag. 31. but with­out citing where, That St. Austin, and several learned Interpreters, not only grant, but contend that it is so: That the sufferings of Christ were to [Page 125]preceed his Glory, 1 Pet. 1.11. that this Text ought to be understood, as 2 Cor. 5.1. We have a building of God a house made with hands, and 2 Tim. 1.9. The Grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

This is little to the purpose. It has been observ'd already, that St. Austin, Aquinas, and both the Di­sciples of these two great Men understand these words of a decree, which I wonder these Gentlemen offer so much as to speak of; It supposing what they so ear­nestly deny, and that is the Personal Union of the two natures of Jesus Christ. Read the Books de nat. and Grat. de praedest. de persev. Sanct. Tract. in Johan. and almost every where, and you will find it to be the System of these two Doctors to which they reduce, not only this place, but all others of like nature; and indeed if you admitt of a decree, you must go through with this as these two learned Men have done. There is no other in relation to Christ can have any room in the Scripture. What is more is only pretended to elude the force of an Argument. Were these Gentle­men unconcern'd in the dispute, and should they hear this Text cited, Glorifie thou me ... with the Glory which I had with thee, before the world was, How would it make them merry to hear a decree pretended for that which cannot be conceiv'd but antecedent to that decree? Had Christ said, Glorifie me with the Glory which thou hadst appointed, or decree'd for me; It might have serv'd. But Glorifie me with the Glory which I had with thee, which was mine, which I was in possession of before the Creation, excludes any thing of that nature. The Place cited out of St. Peter has no relation at all to this. That of St. Paul to the Corinthians is as much foregin to it, being only an ex­cellent Metaphor to express our future state. That to Timothy is indeed more to the matter in hand, but the Apostle has prevented the objection by speaking [Page 126]positively of God's decree in respect of our Election. Who has call'd us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose ... which word the Author was pleas'd to overlook.

What has been said will give light to some difficul­ties which these Gentlemen judge to be unanswerable. The 1st, is taken from this very Chapter, Joh. 17.3. and this is life Eternal that they might know thee the on­ly true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. The Author of the answer to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 22. is positive that the Father is call'd the true God exclusively to any other; and that nothing can more effectually evince that Christ is not God, but only God's Am­bassador. This is one of those very many Texts, says the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 5. which directly affirm, that only the Father is God.

The objection is not new. It was made by the Arrians in the Council of Nice, and exploded by the Fathers. The truth is, these Holy Men never under­stood the words, as fixing and restraining the Deity to the Father with exclusion to the Son, and the Ho­ly spirit, nor their sence to have any regard to either of them; or else this would absolutely have decided the Controversy. Nor is it comprehensible that the Fathers before the Council of Nice would have spoken so fully to the Divinity of Christ, or that those of the Council of Nice, and the Fathers after them, and the whole Christian World durst have embrac't it as an essential part of our Faith, if they had look't upon the sence of this Text to be no other than what is pre­tended by these Gentlemen. The Good, the wise, the Learned, cannot be conceiv'd to have willfully run into an errour contrary to the open and known sence of such a place of Scripture. They constantly under­stood these words, The Father the only true God, to be spoken not exclusively to the two other persons, but in opposition to the Gods of the Heathen, those false [Page 127]Deities, which had usurp't amongst them the place of the true. Nor is it unusual in Scripture by the Fa­ther to mean not so much the first Divine Person, as the Deity in general.

I will not spend time in setting down the many ways that this Text may be read in, or what order the words might be made capable of to take off their pretended inconsistency with the Christian Hypothesis of three Persons subsisting in the same Divine Nature. St. Basil, and St. Chrysostom have effectually done it, and shew'd how the word [...] which we have render'd only, is rather comprehensive than exclusive in the dialect of Scripture.

I have a plain and obvious reason why the only True God must be understood in the sence of the Fathers in opposition to false Gods, and not in exclusion of Christ and the Holy spirit; and that is, that Christ in Scri­pture is call'd the true God, and the only Lord God, which can never be if the only true God here must be restrain'd to the Father, as these Gentlemen would have it. 1 Joh. 5.2. and we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ; This, [...], ille, he, is the true God and Eternal life. I take this to be positive, and decisive that the only true God cannot be understood in relation to the Son or the Holy spirit, since the Son is also call'd true God.

No, says the Author of the Brief Hist. p. 43. This is a very negligent translation, and no sence can be made of the words. The latter part of the Text ought to have been render'd, we are in him that is true, by his Son Jesus Christ, and not, in his Son Je­sus Christ. This Text plainly denys that Chirst is the true God.

The outlandish Socinians had made a miserable ex­ception to this Text, which these Gentlemen thought [Page 128]fit to forsake as ruinous; But this is to the full as bad. The translation is directly against them; Therefore it is negligent and nonsensical. The translators cannot be made to speak as they would have them; There­fore they are careless and speak nonsence. The par­ticle in Jesus Christ, ruines their opinion; Therefore it must be by, contrary to the Faith of all translations, contrary to any possible construction of the place, con­trary to the sence of all Interpreters.

You see, Sir, how desperate is that cause which cannot support it self without these mean shifts, and has nothing to oppose to a plain and deciding Text, but the bold and presumptuous altering of a Particle. I use these words, which perhaps may seem too sharp, be­cause the thing of it self is so extraordinary, and this Text in the original so infinitely clear, that I durst give up the cause, if of a thousand Translators, strangers to the controversy, any one does translate by, and not in his Son Jesus Christ.

I think that Jud. 4. is much to be consider'd. There is a description made of unhappy Men, who are crept in unawares. Their Character is to be ungodly, to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and to deny the only Lord God and Lord of us Jesus Christ. That the whole is spoken of Christ appears from the Greek construction of the Phrase, from the singleness of the Article and the continuation of the Text without the least pun­ctuation. The whole running thus, denying Jesus Christ who is the only Lord God and our Lord. This is so ob­vious that to prove it is to lose time. It not only asserts the Divinity of Christ but also shews how vain is the pretence that in the disputed Text, the only true God should exclude the Son or the holy spirit. As if any rational Man durst infer from thence, that because Christ is call'd the only Lord God, Therefore the Fa­ther is neither Lord, nor God.

These Gentlemen have taken no notice of this Text [Page 129]in any of their writings, that I have seen, and so have say'd nothing to it. But yet because a proof must be clear and candid; and remove, if possible, all ob­jections, what can be oppos'd to it amounts to this. That the old latin Interpreter and some Greek Ma­nuscripts of a considerable Authority, do not read the word God, and that Erasmus has translated, not, the only Lord God and Lord of us Jesus Christ; But God, who is the only Lord, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Erasmus and one or two more Modern Interpreters, who with all the care imaginable have endeavour'd to ob­scure, or prevert all those Texts which speak openly of the Divinity of Christ, are parties in the case, even by the confession of our Adversaries, and so not to be heard. But in this it is visible even to the most zea­lous Socinian, that he has grosly, and shamelesly cor­rupted this Text. The word, God, not being in the Text is really an objection; but if truely consider'd rather confirms than weakens the assertion. For the only Lord can no more be restrain'd to Christ exclusively to the Father, than the only true God can be restrain'd to the Father exclusively to Christ. The word God, adds nothing to the force of the expression, The only Lord being a Phrase of as large an extent and as full an importance as the only true God. This takes off at once all the other Texts depending from this, on which this Author has so much insisted. 1 Cor 8.6. Eph. 4.4, 5, 6. 1 Tim. 2.5, &c.

A 2d objection which indeed this Author has not made, though he has scarce left a Text untouch't, whether it made for his purpose or no, and was a reason, or only look't like one, but is made by the Author of some thoughts upon Dr. Sherlock's Vindi­cation of the Trininy, is taken from Joh. 10.35, 36. If he call'd them Gods unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of him whom the Father has sanctify'd, and sent into the world, thou [Page 130]blasphemest, because I say'd I am the Son of God. He does not say, I whom the Father has begotten from all Eternity, says the Author pag 4. of his own substance, But I whom the Father has sanctify'd. Which plainly shews that when he says he was the Son of God, his meaning was, that he was only so in a sence of consecration and of mission; and con­sequently that his unity with the Father is not an Essential and natural unity, but meerly moral and relative, of works, not of Essence which is really incommunicable. pag. 6. I should think this passage written with the very finger of truth to be unan­swerable, were it not that I know the Orthodox are wont to darken the most bright light at the cost of sincerity and good sence, and make no scruple of the grossest contradictions and absurdities, so they may but cast dust in the Eyes of simple men.

Passing by the complement which is of a singular nature, and a barbarous aspersion on persons whom they themselves own to have an extraordinary piety and learning, I must beg leave to admire the differ­ence of Men's perceptions. This Author thinks this passage to be written with the very finger of truth, and not to be answerable. I think so too: But he says a­gainst the Eternal being of Christ, and I saw for it. The cause of this difference between us lyes here. He fancies that those Verses are an Explication of what Christ had said before, v. 30. I and my Father are one, for which v. 31. the Jews took up stones to stone him, and which, v. 33. they call Blasphemy, and because that he being a man makes himself God; and that to avoid their anger he declares to them that he is no otherwise God, than those very Men who by their law are call'd Gods, not because they are so indeed, but because they have the Power, and Au­thority of God communicated to them.

Now I think that these words are not an Explicati­on, [Page 131]Excuse, or Apology for what he had said, I and the Father are one; But an open and free continuation of what was before, and a new assertion of his Divi­nity. This will appear if the whole context is taken together. Christ had said, v. 9. that he is the door, that by him if any man enters he shall be sav'd. Agree­able to this expression of Revel. 7.3. He that is holy, he that is true ... he that opens, and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens. v. 28. that he gives his sheep Eternal life; and that they might not wonder at those Characters which can agree to no creature, he carries yet the point higher. He tells them, v. 30. I and my Father are one. That though they see him in the form of a Servant and in all things like Man, yet he is God with his Father, and partaker of the same Di­vine Nature. This assertion to Men whose hearts were not purify'd by Faith seem'd strange and impi­ous, v. 31. They took stones to stone him. He tells them with that unconcernedness which truth and innocence gives, that he has done amongst them many miracu­lous works to prove this his Union with his Father. He asks which of these works has provok'd their blind zeal to stone him? They answer him, v. 33. that it is not for any of those good and miraculous works, But because being but a man he makes himself, not A. God, but God. He does not at all excuse the thing, or parts with his first assertion. He pities but not fear their malice; and uses a plain and forcible Ar­gument to instruct them. Though the name of God be Sacred, and the most reverend appellation in the World, yet your law, says Christ, will allow it to them who speak to you from him. If it be so then, and you cannot deny it, because it is writen in your law, Ps. 82.6. I have say'd ye are Gods. If Men are sometime allow'd to be call'd Gods, How much more may I make my self God, and this without the least danger of Blasphemy, who am above any thing that [Page 132]is created, to whom every Knee must bow of things in Heaven, and things in the Earth, and things under the Earth? Whom the Father has sanctify'd, not only by a peculiar designation as a King, or a Prophet, but by an Eternal Communication of his nature by which He and I are one, and so sent me into the World to save you and the rest of Mankind. If I did not do the works which none but the Son of God can do, you might have some ground not to believe me. But as long as I do these miraculous works, it is to you a sufficient argument of perswasion. You ought to be­lieve that the Father is in me and I in him, v. 38.

That the Jews understood this answer litterally, as they had done the allegation, That they did not take it as an Apology for the pretended Blasphemy, but a further proof of his being one with the Father, appears by their not relenting; but v. 39. Therefore they sought again to take him, but be escap't out of their hands.

I beg leave then of this Author, and of Calvin whom he has cited, blaming the Fathers for misapply­ing this Text, to say that the Fathers were in the right, and that nothing can be more obvious than this. It will be much confirm'd, if we consider that this is not the only time that the Jews quarrell'd with Christ up­on the same account; and he always answer'd, not by denying, but justifying the assertion. Mark 2.5. He tells one who was brought to him Sick of the Palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee, v. 7. They presently accuse him of Blasphemy, and that upon a known and undoubted principle that none can forgive sins but God. He does not at all excuse the thing, or make himself a deputed God, or a God by deputation, a sort of God of these Gentlemens making. He grants that none but God can forgive sins. Then he convinces them by a Miracle, and leaves them the conclusion to draw, Which is easier to cure, or to forgive? He that does [Page 133]the one must be God, with an Article too, [...]; and he that does the other must be absolute Master of nature, and that is, God.

The Jews were so far perswaded that Christ by calling God his Father spoke of himself, not as of a Son by adoption, or any other title, but as a Son by nature co-equal and co-eternal, that they never un­derstood him otherwise. This is as clear as the Sun, from Joh. 5. Christ cures a Man of an infirmity of 38. Years standing, v. 9. But it being on the Sabbath day, v. 16. The Jews presecuted him, and sought to slay him. He answers, v. 17. My Father works hitherto, and I work. They take from these words a new occa­sion to accuse him. At first they were only angry for his healing on the Sabbath, but now v. 18. they sought the more to kill him ... because he said also that God was his Father. His own Father, says the Evan­gelist, [...], making himself equal with God. That Equality could not arise simply from calling God his Father. This was the privilege of the Jews, as it is now of Christians. But they made it to consist in this assertion, that as the Father was above the Sab­bath, the Divine nature not being confin'd to those rules which it prescribes to us mortals; Christ saying the same of himself, He made himself the Son of God equal to his Father. Which equality of the Son with the Father the Jews suppose and acknowledge; But seek to kill him, because he pretended to assume it to himself. This the Fathers urg'd against the Arrians.

Now Christ replies without any variation, equi­vocation, or subterfuge. He is plain, and proves all along the Unity and sameness of nature with the Fa­ther. He says v. 19. that he can do nothing of him­self, which does not imply weakness and insufficiency, as the Author of the Breif Hist. has abus'd that Text pag. 6. but shews only that he can act from no other principle but that by which he exists. That he has [Page 134]his operation from him, from whom he has his being, and, as an infallible proof that this is the true sence of that place, he shews an extent of operation as great as the Father: What things soever the Father does these does the Son likewise. This is the Divinity of Theodoret, or, rather of Alexander Bishop of Alexandria, in­serted in the first Book of his History. It is that of St. Basil, or the Author of the first Book contr. Eunom. and of the Generality of the Greek Fathers. It is that of St. Hilary, lib. 7. de Trin. It is that of St. Austin, who tract. 20. in Joann. has these admirable words. Whatsover the Son has to do, he has from the Fa­ther the power to do it. Why, does he receive from the Father the power to act, because he has receiv'd of the Father to be his Son? He has his power from the Father, because from the Father he has his Essence.

Christ prosecutes the Argument and shews how God has communicated all things to him, even as a re­ward of his profound humiliation in taking our na­ture upon him, v. 27. because he is the Son of Man. But that, notwithstanding his outward appearance in infirmity and weakness, he has an Original and Eter­nal Being with the Father, v. 26. As the Father has life in himself, so has he given the Son to have life in himself. St. Austin lib. 3. contra Maxim. c. 14. He has given him the same life that he has. Such as he has it him­self he has given it him; He has given it as Infinite as he has it in himself. He concludes, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, the same honour being due to the same Divine Essence.

The sum of all is this. Christ does not at all grant that he is an inferior or a representative God, as these Gentlemen would have it, by the concession that some Men are call'd Gods; but concludes on the contrary, that if Men are not guilty of Blasphemy by taking that name; How much less is he who is, and on every oc­casion [Page 135]asserts himself to be the true God.

This takes off at once the Objections from all those Texts which the Author of the Brief Hist. thought unanswerable. That he was faithful to him that made him; that we are Christ's and Christ is God's. That he humbl'd himself and became obedient. That the Son shall be subject to him, who put all things under him. That his doctrine is not his doctrine. That he intercedes with God for us; and a great many more.

This Author lays a great weight on all those Texts which prove the Humanity of Christ. His first Let­ter contains whatsoever the Evangelists have said of the passions and infirmities of our Nature. We are so far from denying any part of this, that we think it the greatest comfort Religion can give, that Christ was truly Man. We own it and Glory in it, that Jesus Christ the Righteous our Advocate with the Fa­ther, was in all things like us, Sin only excepted. But the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament speaking so fully to his Divinity with the Father in the communication of the same Nature and Eternal Being, lead us not to say that he is not God, because he is Man, or that he is not Man, because he is God: This is not to interpret, but to destory one Scripture by an­other. They lead us to take both the parts of the Mystery as the spirit of God proposes it, and to be­lieve that he is truly God, and truly Man.

In short, these Gentlemen can never satisify any Man's conscience in this point, nor can they justifie themselves to the Christian Church from whose Faith they have departed; All that Wit and Eloquence which they are so much Masters of, and all those Arguments which they have treated with so much accuracy, being of no force against the proof [...] alledg'd. I will conclude this Letter of Christ's Pre-Eternity with this place of Origen contr. Cels. lib. 6. This Father speaks of the knowledge of [Page 136]God, and how difficult it is to know him who has made darkness his Pavilion round about him. He says, that the Father is known truly, and, [...], only by the Word. He proves this, by Matt. 11.27. Neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. For none, says he, can know him truly, and as he deserves to be known, who is begotten from all Eternity, and born before any created substance but the Father who has begot him. Nor can any know the Father after the same manner, but his living word, who is both his wisdom and truth.

I remain, SIR, Your humble, &c.

THE Fourth LETTER.

SIR,

HAving prov'd the Pre-Existence and Pre-Eternity of Christ, his Antemundane and Eternal Being with God, before he as­sum'd our Nature, and shew'd how defi­cient, or to use the very words of your Friends, in the Brief Hist. pag. 23. how harsh and strain'd their answers seem to be to the Texts produc't against them, it remains to make good that Christ is God by a communication of the Divine Essence, and that the Scriptures represent him to be God after a manner applicable to no Creature.

The first of these two assertions is grounded on Phil. 2.6. and foll. v. The Apostle proposes Christ to the Philippians as a Divine instance of Humility, and Obedience. He makes both to consist in this, that being really God, and equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, but became Man, and hum­bl'd himself to the Death of the Cross. The words of the Text are clearer than any Commentary. v. 6. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. The form of God is here the Na­ture and Essence of God; For though in some other places of Scripture, [...], Form, signifies no more than an Image, or a personal appearance, yet in this it is determin'd to this sence of Nature and Essence by the next Verse, where the form of a Servant is certainly the Nature and Essence of a Servant. [Page 138]The word, [...], subsisting, rather than being in the form of God, as these Gentlemen will not deny that it should have been translated, implies a real and an actual in-being in the Divine Nature. St. Paul having asserted that Christ subsisted in the form of God, says, that he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, an expression which crumbles to dust the poor notion of a God by deputation, as Socinus has con­triv'd, and an inferior though an excellent God, as Arrius. For what inferior or deputed God dares claim an equality with the God of Heaven and Earth? audet pariari Deo? says Tertullian. What Moses, Solomon, what Lord Lieutenant of a County, or Mayor of a Town, because the Scripture calls Magi­strates Gods, would pretend it to be no robbery to equal themselves with God?

The excessive humility of Christ appears then in this, that though God, and equal with God, yet v. 7. He made himself of no reputation, semetipsum exinanivit, reads the Old Latin, exhausted himself, says Tertullian contr. Marci. more agreeable to the Original, he lessen'd, he empty'd himself. He took upon him the form of a ser­vant, and was made in the likeness of men, both so High­ly Disproportionate to the Infinite Being of God. v. 8. He carry'd yet the humiliation to a more stupendi­ous degree; For being found in fashion as a man, he humbl'd himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. There is then not only a plain assertion but a visible Union of the two Natures. There is a God becoming a Servant, and a Man, and suffering for us in that humanity which he was pleas'd to assume.

The Author of the Brief History, pag. 37. excepts against this. He says 1st, That it cannot be the design of the former part of these words to intimate that Christ is God, because 'tis added at last, that God has exalted him, and given him a name that is a­bove [Page 139]every name. These words plainly distinguish Christ from God, as one who is not himself God, but exalted by God. 2ly, That this has oblig'd several judicious and learned Trinitarians to interpret the whole Context of Christ, as he is a Man. 3ly, He explains pag. 38. being in the form of God, only to be like God by a communication of the Divine Power. 4ly, He does not translate as we do, thought it not rob­bery to be equal with God, but, committed not robbery to be equal with God, i. e. did not rob God of his honour by arrogating to himself to be God.

The Answerer to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 36. and foll. says almost the same things; only he brings in a Tale, and a Proverb. The Tale is of a Countryman, who without a remnant of Greek or Latin, did yet puzzle his Vicar by asking, whether It was in the Original? whether the true reading was, thought it not robbery, or only thought not robbery; to which last the Vicar yielding, the Countryman was satisfy'd, that this Text did destroy the Divinity of Christ. The Proverb is, that every like is not the same, and there­fore that since Christ was in the form of God, that is, like God, as Adam, and all other Men, he cannot be God. He says further, that it is both Morally and Physically impossible, that God should do any of these things, and undergo any of these changes. He ob­serves, and that Socinus had done before, that if Christ is equal with God, he cannot be God, since nothing can be equal to it self. He cites Christopher Sandius, who has made a considerable Collection of Authors, Fathers, as well as modern, who confess, that this Text is to be understood of Christ as Man, and not as God.

The Answerer to two Discourses of one Monsieur la Motté, done out of French, repeats all this in o­ther words: Only he is so confident that [...], must not be translated, thought it not robbery, [Page 140]that pag. 11. he sends us to the School Boys, and pag. 8. to the Lexicon.

I hope they are Persons of too much judgment to take this for an Answer, that Christ is not God, be­cause God has exalted him, and God cannot exalt God. For all that is, or ever was pretended from thence, is not that God has exalted God; But God has exalted that humane nature, that Man Christ Jesus, assum'd by the word, to the participation of the ho­nour due to God.

That other sort of reasoning is as bad as this; that if he is equal with God, He cannot be God, because nothing can be equal to it self. I suppose they mean, because equality implies comparison, and comparison excludes identity. This is certainly false in Geometry, and false again in Divinity. But admitting the Pro­position as it lyes, It is nothing at all to the Question. The design of the Apostle is not to compare Christ with God, or a God with another God. But only to shew, that Christ is that supreme God, who hum­bled himself to that degree as to take upon him the form of a Servant. Now what more significant sort of expression could be us'd than this, that though he was God, and had reason to think all the perfections and glory of the Divine Nature to be his own, which is the full, and only importance of being equal with God, yet he humbl'd himself to death, &c.

I hope also, that they are not in earnest, when they bring Sandius with his Catalogue of most Learned and Judicious Trinitarians; since they cannot be igno­rant that All the Greek Fathers concern'd in this dis­pute, who understood I hope their own language better than any of us, It being more than highly pro­bable that the Author of the Brief History, and of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn, who are really accurate Writers, can give a far better account of any En­glish Phrase now in use, and better understand the [Page 141]extent and importance of it, than a Frenchman or a Dutchman, who though never so Learned, and Ju­dicious, will twelve or thirteen hundred Years hence Criticise, Paraphrase, and give another sence to that Phrase than what they gave themselves; since I say all the Greek Fathers, who understood the force of [...], thought these words an un­doubted and clear testimony of Christ's Divini­ty.

The natural impossibility of the thing is an old ob­jection made to Lactantius, and confuted by that Fa­ther. Negant Deo dignum ut Homo fieri vellet .... ut passionibus, ut doloribus sese ipse subjiceret. They deny that it is worthy of God to become man, and subject himself to Grief, and Sufferings. This is the constant mothod of these Gentlemen always to return to the How can it be? It is not so, because it is impossible. We say it is possible because it is so, and it is so because it is reveal'd. It is dinsingenuous to be ever parting from the point in Question which is the Revelation, to the manner of the thing it self which is above our reach. All these things consider'd which really are not worth answering, may not I have the liberty to tell your Friends what they said to Monsieur la Motté, pag. 10. T'is a very thin Sophistry, this; when an Author leaves off to speak to the vulgar, and would needs undertake in this very passage, Phil. 2.6, 7, 8. to speak to the learned, he should bring something more substantial to blind such Eyes as theirs.

In short, the stress of the difficulty lies here. Whe­ther to be in the form of God, [...], Signifies the nature, or only the likeness of God, such as A­dam, and all other Men have? And whether the Translation is right, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. That the form of God is the Divine Essence is evinc't from the Authority of the Greek Fathers, Theodoret, Basil, St. Chrysostom; Theophilact, who not [Page 142]only spoke their own language, but were Men of an ad­mirable Eloquence and purity of speech; And indeed if we consider the force of the word [...], subsist­ing, it cannot be otherwise. It is against all the rules of Philosophy, of sence, of Speech, if form is no more than an accidental form, to use the word subsisting, which implies of it self a communication, participation, or in-being in the same nature. To say that a Man sub­sists in the form of a Man, is not to say that he is like other Men, or has the figure of a Man, but that he is really a Man, that he has human nature communicated to him.

To pretend that the form of God is only a com­munication of a Divine power of miracles, &c. If this flows from a communication of Essence, as Matt. 28.18. All power is given me in Heaven and in earth. Joh. 14.10. The Father that dwells in me he does the works. Act. 2.22. Jesus of Nazareth a man approv'd of God amongst you by miracles .... which God did by him in the midst of you, is a notion tolerable, though very improper. But if it is only a commu­nication of a power foreign to us, to which we have no relation, and in which we are only instrumental, such as was in Moses, in the Prophets, and Apostles, is a ridiculous notion. To subsist in a miraculous power, that is, to be a miraculous power, is an irrational and unintelligible way of speaking. The Great Erasmus then, and the Illustrious Grotius from whom they have borrow'd this Explication, are greatly and Il­lustriously mistaken. To deal with candor, I humbly beg what sence can be made of this? Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, a Man made in the similitude of God as other Men are, yet became Man for your sakes.

To say that Christ making himself of no reputation was the concealing of his Miracles, as these Gentle­men [Page 143]interpret it, is unreasonable and contrary to the Gospel. His miraculous Birth of a Virgin, his Star in the East, his being reveal'd to the Shepherds by the Angels, his being Preach't by the Baptist, God own­ing him for his Son, his doing good amongst all Men, his miraculous works, the raising of Lazarus, The prodigious Eclipse at his Death, the continual atten­dance of the multitudes upon him made him the most Famous Person in the World. The Gospel wholly contradicts the injurious assertion, Matt. 4.24. Matt. 9.31. and 14.1. Luk. 1.15. Mark. 1.28.

That thought it not robbery to be equal with God, is tru­ly translated, I have this to Offer: 1st, That the Generality of the Latin Fathers render'd it thus, and that no exception was made against it by the Arrians, to whom they produc't this Text. 2ly, That all the publick, Authentick, and receiv'd translations read it as we do. 3ly, That the It which this sharp-nos'd Countryman smelt to be wanting in the Text, adds nothing to its force; and that thought no robbery, is as home to the question, as thought it not robbery, since the natural sence of the words, the very first impression which they naturally give, is that Christ did not think to be a Robber, Guilty of Theft and Injustice in e­qualling himself to God. The other being strain'd, a sence of yesterday and invented in these latter times to serve a turn. 4ly, That the first part of the Verse, who subsisting in the form of God, makes that sence im­possible, for if he subsisted in the form, or nature of God, how could he who was God, arrogate to himself to be God? 5ly, That the translation of these Gentle­men, committed not robbery by equalling himself with God, is a most notorious falsification of a Text. I will not send them to School Boys and Lexicons to know the sence of [...]. Civility and Breeding must never be Banish't from the hottest disputes. I will only say, en passant, that Learned [Page 144]men use to Correct Lexicons and Dictionaries, and not to be corrected by them. But I appeal to them­selves, and beg of them to know, 1st, Whether [...], does not signify all the World over, Rob­bery? And [...], thought, judg'd, counted, and therefore whether thought not, counted not robbery to be equal with God is not an exact Translation. 2ly, I beg that they would produce any one Greek Author either Sacred or profane who renders [...] to commit robbery. I pass by that other strange stroke, of rendring to be equal with God, by equall­ing himself with God.

Thus you see, Sir, your Friends are so taken up with their new Creation, that they assume to them­selves a power to create a new sence to some words, a sence which they never had, nor can never have.

Coloss. 2.9. The Apostle has asserted this Sacred truth in few words but comprehensive, v. 3. In him, Christ, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. v. 7. The Colossians are to be rooted, and built up in him. v. 8. Philosophy will rather deceive than inform them. The traditions of men and the Elements of the World, whether the weak notices of the Gentiles, or the observances of the Jewish Oeconomy are all in­sufficient. None but Christ can supply their wants, and make them truly knowing and good. St. Paul gives this reason for it, For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Our translation comes short of the energy of the Greek Text, which should have been render'd thus; For in him dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead Essentially, a notion of the word [...], usual in the Scriptures. This proves then all that the several sorts of Hereticks have deny'd of Christ. A Communication not of power or Vertue, as in Moses or the Prophets, but of nature, [...], of the Divine Nature. A Communication not Figurative, Sacramental, or representative, but real and [Page 145]substantial. A Communication not partial, transient, or begun in time, but the whole nature, the whole full­ness of the Godhead. A Communication supposing a distinction of Persons against the Sabellians, him who communicates, and him to whom it is communicated, Col. 1.19. For it pleas'd the Father that in him the whole fullness should dwell. A Communication which clearly shews against Arrians, Nestorians, Socinians, the Hypo­statical Union of the two natures in Christ. For it is in him, [...], in his adorable Person, in Christ the word made Flesh, that this Divine Nature dwells, with all the Properties, Attributes, Qualifications which belong to it; All human apprehensions and expressions being infinitely short of this inspir'd way of speaking of St. Paul, all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

To this the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 39. an­swers somewhat confusedly contrary to his Custom. He says, that the fulness of the Godhead is the fulness of the knowledge of God, which he pretends to prove, by Eph. 3.19. where the Apostle wishes that they may be fill'd with all the fullness of God. This Christ had, and he has fill'd us Christians with it. He says that this knowledge dwelt in him bodily, in opposition to that imperfect, umbratile, and unsincere knowledge of God, which the Apostle affirms, v. 8. to be found in the Philosophy and Philosophers of Greece, who in St. Paul's time were in great Esteem amongst the Colos­sians. He adds that this is the Interpretation of the most Learned and Orthodox Interpreters.

It is true that some Interpreters, whom these Gen­tlemen always honour with the Title of most learned, if they but speak what pleases them, have oppos'd these words, not only to the Philosophy of the Greeks, but even to the law which was only a shadow of things to come, Christ being the Body, as the Syriack reads the 17. v. the substance and perfection of know­ledge, and there being as much difference between [Page 146]their Doctrine and his, as there is between the shadow and the body. But two things this Author has not taken notice of; 1st, That these most Learned Inter­preters do only deliver this as a secondary interpreta­tion, leaving the Primary, which I have laid before you, in its full force. 2ly, That this Interpretation really supposes and resolves it self into the first. The Apostle desires the Colossians to avoid the vain Philosophy of the Greeks, that science falsly so call'd, and the rudiments of the World, those imperfect ways of men's invention to bring and reconcile them to God; even all the Ceremonial Law, which though prescrib'd by God himself, yet was only in order to somewhat better; and that they should stick to Christ, be rooted, and built up in him, in whom and by whom they should be fill'd and compleated. He gives the reason of this, because in him are hid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and he is the head of all Principality, and Power; and all this is true, because he is not only a wise and a rational Man according to the World, for such were the Philosophers; Nor a Man sent from God, for such were Moses and the Prophets, but he was God himself come down in our Flesh, for in him dwells the whole fullness of the Godhead bodily, Substantially, Essentially.

I am satisfy'd that this Author does not believe the application of Eph. 3.19. to have any solidity. But there is in the disputed Text, the fullness of the God­head, and in this the fullness of God. These two words are alike, and therefore must be made to jump. When he cannot but know that all the Interpreters, even the beloved Erasmus, and Grotius, tell us that the Apostle means no more by this, than that Christ may dwell in our hearts by Faith, and that we may have as much of the favour and grace of God as we can.

I beg to know with what candor he has transla­ted [Page 147] [...] by [...], God by the Deity, or The Divine Nature, which though sometimes Synonymous, yet cannot be so here.

But what can more effectually prove the commu­nication of the Divine Nature to Christ, than that he is the only begotten Son of God, Joh. 1.18. No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declar'd him. A title pe­culiar to Christ, and expressive of all that can be conceiv'd of him, his Consubstantiality, his Co-Eter­nity, his Equality with the Father.

These Gentlemen think it a very strong Argument that Christ is not God, because in the Apostolical Creed, the unchangeable rule of our Faith, the first Article gives the name of God only to the Father. I believe in God The Father, and the second does not say, and in God the Son, but and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; not considering that the word only Son, the same with only begotten here, is a fuller expression of his Divinity than if the name God had been given him in the Article. For this would not have satisfy'd these Gentlemen. They would have been apt to say still that the first Article is spoken of him who is only and eminently God, and the second, or third of a God by deputation, of one not truly God, but only honour'd with the title of God. This would not have remov'd the objection, nor prevented that of the Tritheists, who seeing every Person in the Creed nam'd, God, would have concluded not a Trinity of Persons in one God, but Three real Gods. Whereas the All-wise God has effectually obviated this, by proposing the Divine Nature to our belief, I believe in God, in which Three Persons subsist: The Father who is Maker of Heaven and Earth, His only Son who is our Lord, and the Holy Spirit who Sancti [...]ies the Catholick Church.

This expression the only Son, or the only begotten, [Page 148]is a stop to all those exceptions. For he cannot be a deputed God who is a Son, an only Son, begotten, as the Fathers and Councils express it, of the sub­stance of the Father. He must be God of God, very God of very God. The Eternal God of the Eternal God. This suppos'd, there is no objection can be pretended. God cannot have a Son but it must be by a communication of his substance. An Eternal being cannot communi­cate it self, as we mortals do, within the measures and successions of time. A mortal begets another mortal; He can give no other substance then what he has. An Eternal being gives what he is himself, an E­ternal and Divine being. This leads to the true sence of Col. 1.15. 2. Cor. 4.4. Heb. 1.3. where Christ is call'd the image of God, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his Person. Texts so re­verenc't by the Fathers of the Christian Church, and so abus'd by Socinus and the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 38. who says, That those Texts are demon­strations that Christ is not God, it being simply impossible that the image should be the very being, or thing whose image it is. Were this reasoning true, which is a meer Sophism to reason of an Eternal and Increated Being, by the rules of things mortal and created, it can reach to no more than this, that the Son is not the Father, because he is the express Image of his Person, which is true; but at the same time it proves, that because he is his Image, he must have a communication of his substance, because he is his only Image, as he is his only begotten Son.

But say these Gentlemen, you run on, but still you suppose the thing to be prov'd. We agree that Christ is the only Son our Lord: but we deny that the only begotten implies a communication of sub­stance. Christ, says the Authour of the Brief Hist. pag. 28. is call'd the only begotten, on several accounts. This especially, that he only was begotten by the [Page 149]Divine Power on a Woman. He is the only begotten, says Chrellius, because of all the Sons of God he is the best, and most dear to him.

Time is too precious to spend it in answering such things as these are. The Interpretation of Chrellius is trifling; and that of the Brief Hist. is absurd. God is a Father antecedently to the Creation of the World. God is not the Father of Christ, but as he is the Father of the word who assum'd our nature. Had there been nothing created, there would have been still a Father, and Father of it self supposes a Son. If the Father is from ever, the Son is from ever. These ancient assertions of the Primitive Fathers destroy the notion of these Gentlemen of the only begotten. A notion so strange, so new, so contrary to the language of Scripture, and to that of the Church, that the Old Hereticks durst never offer at it.

It ruines the difference between Christ and the rest of men. For we are all the Sons of God. Nay, we can no more be the Sons of God, being only Sons of God by adoption, and only adopted in Christ Jesus, who if he is adopted himself, and only a Coheir with us, as we are Coheirs with him, there is no more adoption, the great blessing of Christianity. Now if Christ is the only begotten of the Father, by reason of his being conceiv'd of a Woman by the Divine Power, it is visible that he is no more than an adopted Son as we are. This second Adam has no more of the Divine Nature than the first, who was made of the Earth by the Divine power, as the other was made of a Woman, and was only an adopted Son. Where­as the Scripture is so careful to distinguish between us the adopted Sons, and that Son who is not adopted; and is call'd the true Son, the only Son, his own Son, his only begotten Son, that Son who is sent, Gal. 4.4. that we might receive the adoption of Sons.

It offers violence to these Texts, to which the Au­thor [Page 150]of the Brief Hist. has done the advantage to shew that they are proofs against all the Turns of Wit, Joh. 10.30. I and my Father are one. Joh. 7.29. I know him, for I am from him. Joh. 10.38. The Father is in me, and I in him: I came out from the Fa­ther; and to all the unanimous confessions in the Gos­pel, Thou are the Christ the Son of the living God.

I commend this Author to have in this place given an answer without a reason to support it. He has in this as in other places evaded and shifted the difficulty. He sees what straights his Explication of the only be­gotten is lyable to, and too much modesty to have laid down the pretended reasons of his Friends. They would put a sober Philosopher to the blush. I cannot without Horror read Smalcius de vero & natur. dei fil. And all that can be said to this, is what St. Austin said almost on the same account, that it is Sceleratissima opinio, a most execrable opinion. Serm. 191. de temp.

I will multiply no more Arguments on this subject, the places alledg'd being so full and forcible, and the shifts of these Gentlemen so visible, that it is enough to perswade any equitable person. I pass to the second part of the assertion, that the name of God is given to the Saviour after a manner applicable to no creature. I will not lay down the rules which the Socinians have invented to discern when the word God must be un­derstood of that God who is so by nature, and of the deputed God, who is only so by Office. They are Criticisms for the most part false, and always little and uncertain.

I humbly conceive that, 1 Tim. 3.16. is spoken of the God by nature. And without controversy great is the Mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the Flesh, justify'd in the spirit, seen of Angels, preach't to the Gentiles, believ'd on in the world receiv'd up into Glory. I humbly conceive also that every word of this is ac­complish't in Christ Jesus, and that this Text [Page 151]is an Epitome of the Gospel. God was manifest in the Flesh, is the explication of Joh. 1.1. and the word was made Flesh. Justify'd in the spirit, is the explication of Matt. 3.16, 17. and lo the Heavens were open'd, and the spirit of God descending ... and lo a voice from Hea­ven, this is my beloved Son. Seen of Angels, is the explica­tion of Matt. 4.11. and behold Angels came and Mini­ster'd to him. Preach't to the Gentiles, is the explica­tion of Matt. 28.18. Teach all nations. Believ'd on in the World, is the explication of Joh. 6.69. and many places of this nature. Receiv'd up into Glory, is the Explication of Mark 16.19. He was receiv'd up into Heaven. This Text is express for the Incarnation, and the Union of the two Natures. A Mystery truly great and incomprehensible, God made Man! An ad­mirable instance of the love of God to us, and a most powerfull motive of our Obedience to him.

These Gentlemen have made two sorts of Objections to this. The one they have taken from Chrellius and their other profess't Friends, the other from Erasmus and Grotius. For the 1st, the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 40. says, That if we will make sence of this Text, we must translate, Great is the Mystery of Godliness, God was manifested by Flesh, i. e. God's nature and will was manifested by Flesh; that is, by Man, by Jesus Christ and his Apostles to us Gentiles. Was justify'd in the spirit, i. e. the same will and nature of God was verify'd by miracles done by the spirit or power of God. Was seen of Angels, i. e. was known to the Angels who were desirous to understand this new revelation. Believ'd on in the world, receiv'd with Glory, or Gloriously, and not receiv'd up into Glory. The Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn, says, That by Godwe may understand here, as in divers other Texts the Trinitarians themselves do, not the Person, but the will and mind of God. This was manifested to [Page 152]us by Flesh, that is by Christ and his Apostles. They have as much reason to translate by instead of in Flesh, as we have to translate by the spirit, instead of, in the spirit. It ought not to be translated receiv'd up into Glory, but receiv'd gloriously, i. e. extoll'd, magni­fy'd, lifted up. He gives this reason for understanding the word God not of God himself, but of his will and mind, that we interpret it thus, Gal. 1.10. do I now per­swade men or God? Do I seek to perswade human inven­tion ..... or the very will and commands of God?

Thus silly and bold Criticisms are made use of to undermine the Christian Faith. The poverty of this new translation will be evident from this very obser­vation, that God to express the mind and the will of God is a dialect which they may have us'd themselves to but is wholly unknown and unpractis'd in Scrip­ture. They are desir'd to give any one single instance of it, but clear, plain, and lyable to no exception. Gal. 1.10. is far from being of that nature. Men, do not signify there human inventions, nor God, the will and commands of God. The Generality of Interpreters and indeed the nature of the thing it self leading us to this sence of the place: Do I seek to approve my self to men, or to [...]od? ..... For if yet I pleas'd men, I should not be the Servant of Christ.

Their translating [...], by Flesh, is contrary to the original, to the Faith of all translations, and to the sence of Manknd. The reason which they give for it, that we translate [...] by the spirit, is wholly false. But the last part of this Text, receiv'd gloriously, that is, as they say, extoll'd, magnify'd, and not receiv'd up into glory, is an insufferable attempt on the Eyes and sence of men. They should have imitated Erasmus, who having strain'd as much as possible every part of this Text, was so struck with the evidence of this last expression, that though a great Wit and a great Critick he thought it the best way to let it alone and [Page 153]say nothing to it. He saw clearly that the will and mind of God taken up to Heaven is a barbarous way of ex­pression. He was sensible that [...] in the dialect of the Scripture, Mark 16.19. Act. 1.11. Act. 1.22. is an actual, real, personal being taken up of Christ into Heaven. He knew that this is the language of both the Testaments, and that the same is us'd of Enoch, of Moses and of Elias.

The first part then of their answer is not solid, and if they had no more to say than this they must be look't upon as unreasonable and obstinate men. In­deed the Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn has made a pretty paraphrase, and very intelligible. It has only that unhappiness that he has given us his sence and not the sence of the Apostle, and absolutely departed from the truth and meaning of the Text, which a Paraphrast ought not to do. It is very di­verting to read these Gentlemen's Paraphrases: They make what words they will, and give them what sence they please. Then they muster all up, and end in a pretty Speech.

What they have borrow'd of Grotius consists in this, That the word God is not in the Text. Brief Hist. pag. 44. This appears by the Syriack, Latin, Ethiopick, Armenian, Arabick, and most ancient Greek Bibles, by great many citations out of the Greek and Latin Fathers, who read not God was manifested, but which was manifested. Macedonius was the first who corrupted this Text, by sub­stituting the word God, instead of the word which, and for this and other matters he was depos'd by the Emperour Anastasius, about the Year 512. The Answerer to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 2, & 3. says, That the Latin, Syriack, and Armenian Translations, the Council of Nice, and St. Jerom himself, a bigotted Trinitarian, read which, and not God. Erasmus says, that Multa vetera exemplaria, many (but not [Page 154]very many, as the answerer has translated it) of the ancient Copies read which, a reading approv'd by Erasmus himself. Grotius cites Hincmarus Arch­bishop of Rhemes, saying that the Nestorians sub­stituted God in the room of which, the better to defend themselves from the Eutychians. Liberatus the Archdeacon of Carthage assures us, that Macedo­nius was depos'd for so doing. This, and some heats against Mr. Milbourn, is the sum of what he has to say.

What Erasmus says of his many, or as this Author will have it, very many ancient Greek Copies that read which and not God, with the leave of that great Man, is a real mistake. Beza examining himself this very place of Erasmus, answers plainly, Verum re­pugnant perpetuo consensu omnes Graeci codices. But All the Greek Copies with an universal consent give him the lye. All the Greek Copies do agree in the word God, says one of the best and most learned Prelates this Nation ever had. The joint consent, says he in another place, of the Greek Copies and Interpreters are above the Au­thority of these two Translations; He means the Latin and Syriack.

But to examine this most particularly; Grotius does not condemn, or reject, but only insinuates that he has some cause to suspect the reading, God. The Latin Interpreter as the most ancient is the great ob­jection, for all the rest, Armenian, Ethiopick, Arabick, are names serve only to fill the Page, and make the sim­ple Reader to stare. But it will prove at last no Ob­jection. For if a thousand Translations read contrary to the Original Text, we ought not to depart from it, if the Text is true, genuine, and indisputable. But it is not so, replies the Author. Grotius affirms, that Hincmarus, a Prelate so famous in his time, is positive, that the word God was thrust into the Text by the Nestorians, and in particular by Macedonius, [Page 155]who corrupted the sincere reading of that very place.

I never saw either Mr. Milbourn, or his Book, but he might have told his Answerer that Grotius is strangely mistaken, and so must the Learned Prelate be whom he has cited. All the World cannot make me apprehend how the Nestorians should thrust the word, God, into a Text by which they ruin'd them­selves and their Doctrines to all intents and purposes. Nestorius, says this very Author in his Answer to the late Archbishop, pag. 61. said, That God was not Hypostatically united, or after the manner of a Per­son, to the Man Christ Jesus. But only dwelt in him by a more plentiful effusion, or exertion of the Divine Presence and Attributes, than in former Prophets. This led him to say, that our Saviour ought to be call'd Christ, and not God. He deny'd that he could call him God, &c. I ask then, How it can be con­ceiv'd, that it should come into the head of the Ne­storians, to change the Particle [...] which, the only thing that could favour their Doctrine, into [...], God, the only word that could ruine it. Is it rational to think, that a Sect of men who are professedly bent against the Incarnation of Christ, shall alter a plain Text to put in a word which will make it undisputable? Will it be believ'd in the next Age, if Socinianism is so long liv'd, that the Socinians would alter a Text which does not prove the Divinity of Christ, and add words to it, by which it may clearly be prov'd?

It is a great mistake to say that Macedonius was turn'd out of the Sea of Constantinople for falsifying this Text. It is true that Anastasius turn'd him out, but it does not appear that it was upon any such ac­count. That that makes this to be undeniable is, that this Text is read by the Fathers with the word God, before Macedonius was born, and even long before the Heresy of Nestorius. St. Chrysostom Patriarch him­self [Page 156]of Constantinople long before Nestorius reads in this place God was manifested, &c. So does Theodoret, so does St. Cyril, even against this very Nestorius, so do several other Fathers, too tedious to insert. I will add, that whoever reads attentively the place of Hinc­marus which these Gentlemen have not cited, but is Opusc. 55. cap. 18. & Liberatus cap. 19. and he will find even in their own account the addition of the word God to have been impossible.

Another Objection is that of the Council of Nice, of next Authority with us, says the Author, and with a great deal of truth, to the sacred Scriptures. One having repeated this Text with the word God taken probably out of some Marginal note, where he found the word God, put as an Explanation of the word, which in the Text, was answer'd by Macarius Bishop of Jerusalem, that he mistook the reading, the words being which was manifested in the flesh. This makes nothing against us. It proves that this reading was ancienter than the Council of Nice. It proves, if the Author's wild conjecture may be ad­mitted, that if there was even any Copy where the word God was not, that the which by the force of the following parts of the Verse, and the sence of that age having put to it that marginal note, was to be un­derstood of God. It proves that the Arrians had be­gun early to corrupt those Texts which were plainest for the Divinity of Christ. Had this Author shew'd, that upon this allegation of Macarius, the sacred Council had rejected this Text, it would have been of some weight; but the mistake of that Bishop appears by the unanimous consent of the Greek Fathers using this Text with the word God, in the time of, and after the Council.

But even in the Latin Church where the Interpre­ter reads which, The Fathers understood that Mystery, which the Apostle calls confessedly so great, of the In­carnation [Page 157]of Jesus Christ. Nor is the assumptum est in glo­ria, of the vulgar Latin, taken up into Glory, capa­ble of any other sence. These Gentlemen have a great disadvantage, that when they have never so finely shap't an interpretation, and put it in never so pretty a dress, not only the new but also the old Christian World rises against it. It was the wish no doubt of a good Man, that his Soul might rest with the Philoso­phers. Let mine rest with the Primitive Fathers, and Councils of the Church. In all Arts and Sciences, the further we go, the greater are our improvements, But in the case of Religion, the nearer we return to the Spring, the more purity and truth we meet with.

Rom. 9.5. is another staring Text. Whose are the Fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all God blessed for ever, Amen. That the title of blessed over all for ever is only due, and was only given to the Almighty, is evident from the Old and New Testament, and the constant practices of Jews and Christians. If the word, God, was not in this Text it would lose nothing of its force; The bles­sed over all implying with all the Jewish Doctors that Essential Happiness, that Absolute Dominion, that Incomprehensible Greatness which belong to none but him who is God by nature. But since all this is said of Christ in plain and express words, the consequence is easy, he must be that God. Should all Mankind con­spire to find words clear and positive to represent the two natures, and God made Man, they must come short of this Apostle, who shews the one in this part of the Text, of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came, and the other in that, who is over all God blessed for ever. Proclus in his Book de fid. looks on this Text alone, as a confutation of all the Heresies concerning Christ. Athanasius and the Catholick Fathers urg'd it with vehemence against the Arrians. Theophilact the [Page 158]great Admirer, and even the Transcriber of St. Chry­sostom, says in this place, that St. Paul by Proclaiming Christ God over all, has publisht the shame of Arrius who deny'd it, to all the World.

The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 35. says to this. 1st, That it is very probable by the Syriack, and some passages in Ignatius, and other Fathers, that the word, God, was not originally in this Text. For they read it without. 2ly, Admitting the reading in the vulgar Editions of the Greek, Erasmus and Curcellaeus observe that it should have been thus translated; Of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came; God who is over all be blessed for ever. 3ly, That these words, according to the Flesh, or concerning the Flesh, never signify according to his human na­ture, as if he had also a Divine Nature, Rom. 9.3. My Kinsman according to the Flesh, Rom. 4.1. Abra­ham our Father as pertaining to the Flesh. Coloss. 3.22. Servants obey in all things your Masters according to the Flesh. Which places do not suppose that they had a Divine Nature, but only mean that Abraham is the Father of the Jews, according to their Bodies, as God is the Father of their Souls and Spirits. Therefore the meaning can only be, that according to the body, Christ descended from Abraham and David.

This last part of the Answer is perfectly Socinian. The second he has borrow'd of Erasmus, and the first of Grotius. The Author of the Answer to Mr. Mil­bourn says the same things. He adds, That Mr. Mil­bourn might have taken notice out of Grotius, that the Greek Copies us'd by the Author of the Syriack had not the word God. They only say the blessed over all. That the same Illustrious Interpreter observes that Erasmus had noted, that the Copies of St. Cy­prian, Chrysostom, Hilary, had only, the Blessed over all, without the word God. Then the Answerer [Page 159]grows angry. These are, says he, Observations which destroy our Author's Arguments from this Text. But because he knew not what to say to them, he took no notice of them. It is an impious thing for a Writer to endeavour to cheat his Reader in such questions as these. When it appears by such great Authorities, that the ancient reading was otherwise, or various, or uncertain; how can such Texts be admitted as proofs in so great a que­stion as this?

At last he gives the reason why Erasmus has made a Translation contrary to all the Translations in the World, because he observes, that if the words God over all, had been intended of Christ, the Apostle should have said [...] not [...]. I doubt not, says he, that our Author was aware that those Criticks were in the right, and therefore he willingly over­look't both the Translation and the reason of it. Thus far this Author, pag. 34.35. of his Answer. This is indeed very severe, and much exceeding the bounds of common civility; but strangely barbarous, if all this is made to appear to be trifling and inconsi­derable.

1st, This Gentlemen who chid Mr. Milbourn for not taking notice out of the Illustrious Grotius, that the word God is not in the Syriack, should not have trusted Grotius, who is really mistaken in this; but should have gone to the Syraick it self, and there would have found the word, God. He should have seen also that he was deceiv'd by Grotius, as Grotius was by Erasmus, an Illustrious Person often deceiv­ing another, about St. Cyprian, St. Chrysostom, and St. Hilary. For several Copies of St. Cyprian read the word, God. And that that demonstrates beyond the possibility of denyal, that if it is not in some Copies, it must have been the fault of the Transcriber, is this, that St. Cyprian makes use of this Text lib. 2. [Page 160] adv. Jud. and brings into the Catalogue of those Texts which call Christ [...]od. He had it from Tertullian dis­puting against Praxeas and alledging this Text twice; a thing ordinary to St. Cyprian, who us'd to call the learned African his Master. This shews by the way, how these Gentlemen can assure that the Antenicene Fathers did not believe Christ to be God. Erasmus has also mistaken St. Chrysostom, who is so far from reading, the blessed over all, without, God, that in his Exposition he reads neither the one nor the other, but both when he cites this Text. But for St. Hilary, I am amaz'd to hear his Authority disputed who has not only cited this Text with the words, God blessed over all, but added an Explication to it, which is levell'd against the very Soul of Socinianism, the be­loved notion of a deputed, or of a made God. Non ignorat Paulus Christum Deum, dicens, quorum sunt Patres, & ex quibus Christus qui est super omnia Deus. Non hic Creatura in Deum deputatur, sed Creaturarum Deus est qui super omnia Deus. Paul is not ignorant that Christ is God, who says, whose are the Fathers, and of whom Christ came who is God over all. Here a Creature is not a deputed God, but he is the God of Creatures, who is God over all. Hil. de Trin.

The Author of the Brief Hist. was sensible of this, and modestly declin'd the naming of these Fathers. But how could Mr. Milbourn's Adversary so severely re­flect upon him when he himself was certainly in the wrong? May I speak to him in his own words: either he knew all this, or he did not. If he did not, how could he call a reading various and uncertain, when their is none so clear, and so free from exceptions; and if he did, how could he have the Conscience to do it?

But admitting that God is not in the Text, what then? The stress of the Argument does not lye in the word God, which these Gentlemen understand [Page 161]as they please, but in the word blessed over all, which belongs to none but God. Mark. 14.61. Art thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed? By which word blessed the the High-Priest understands in the dialect of the Jews, the Holy one, the Almighty, the only true God. Rom. 1.25. and 11.36. 2. Cor. 11.31. Gal. 1.5. 1 Tim. 1.7. in all which places and great many more is a perpetual acknowledgement of that Eternal Glory which is God's, and infinitely transcends any Created Being. Nor can there be a more substantial proof of the Divinity of Christ, than this, that that Glory is given him, as in this Text, which by the unanimous consent of the Scriptures is given only to God. Heb. 13.22. 1 Pet. 4.11. and 5.11. 2 Pet. 3.18. Rev. 1.6.

2ly, The punctuation of Erasmus and Curcellaeus, and the addition of the word be, is a bold and pre­sumptuous attempt, unknown to all Antiquity, and which the Arrians themselves never thought of. If this liberty is granted there is not a place in Scripture but what may be perverted; men must leave off to talk and reason. There can be no Faith, no candor left in disputes. The honestest discourse by the means of a different punctuation of the words may be made obscure and infamous. But it is the sickness of these Gentlemen; The Bible will not say, what they would have it to say, and therefore they must add Particles, and Comma's, and alter an order which ought to be Sacred and inviolable. But after all this, the Criticism, says Beza, on this place is little and silly. It is known to any one who has the smallest tincture of the Greek Tongue, that [...] with a Participle is the same as [...]. He sends Erasmus for this to School; and this use of the Greek Tongue I take to be the reason that neither Asterius the Grammarian, nor the other Arrians who understood the extent of their own language ever made this exception.

3ly, That these words concerning the Flesh, do no more suppose a Divine nature in Christ, than in A­braham, these Gentlemen are not pleas'd to observe that there is in the Text an actual comparison of two natures; of Christ as Man, and of Christ who is God blessed over all; of Christ who in the first ca­pacity is descended from the Jews, and is a Jew ac­cording to the Flesh: and of Christ who in the other has a communication of the Divine Nature, and is God blessed over all. It is easy to see, says the Author of the Answer to Mr Milbourn, that these expressions in the places cited by him, are only as much as to say, according to the Body. I grant it. But I affirm, that it is easy to see that the Apostle speaks in those places Absolutely, and without relation to any thing else; and that here he speaks relatively to another being which Christ has. This appears not only from the thing it self where there is an obvious compari­son; but from the very way of expressing of the Greek, which our language cannot reach. In all the places cited by these Gentlemen, according to the Flesh is express'd without any Article, [...], to determine it to any sence than what really it has. But when this is say'd of Christ, There the [...], by which it is compar'd to somewhat else. The A­postle has it clearly, Rom. 1.2, and 3. made accord­ing to the Flesh; where the Flesh does not signify the body, as the places which they have cited to elude the force of this Text; but the humane nature of Christ, in opposition to these words, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by which the Divine is express'd. This explication is of St. Chrysostom on this place, Theodoret, and long before of Tertullian adv. Prax. Made of the seed of David, according to the Flesh, says that Father, Here is the man, and the Son of man. And declar'd to be the Son of God, according to the Holy Spirit. Hic est Deus & sermo Dei filius. This is the [Page 163]God, and the word the Son of God. This was the Divi­nity of Tertullian's time before the Council of Nice.

Having done with this Text, I pass to Act. 20.28. St. Paul taking his leave of the Asian Bishops, exhorts them pathetically to that diligence and care which is the source of all Pastoral Vertues. He urges it on these two Motives; 1st, That they have receiv'd their power from the Holy Ghost. 2ly, That the Church which he exhorts them to feed, is the Church for which God has been pleas'd to dye. Feed the Church of God which he has purchas'd with his own blood. This is spoken of a God by nature, since according to the Socinian Rule God is nam'd here with an Article. It is not only a God, but the God. He has purchas'd to himself a Church, he has bought us with a price; and because without remission of Sin there is no re­demption, and there is no remission without blood, he has purchas'd us with blood. But the blood of Goats and Calves, the blood of others being of it self ineffectual, and only Figurative, he has shed his own blood for us. This cannot be say'd of the Fa­ther who these Gentlemen deny and with a great deal of reason to have suffer'd. Nor can it be assert­ed of the Holy Spirit, since they assure him to be only a power, and an energy; and it is ridiculous to say, that an energy shed his own blood. In can be say'd of none but the Son, who having taken our nature upon him became our Mediator, and High-Priest, and by his own blood, that blood which he shed for the Church, obtain'd eternal redemption for us. But that High-Priest, that Mediator, that Christ, is say'd to be the God; therefore he must be partaker of the Di­vine Nature; and since the Father is the God, and he is also the God, there must be more persons than one subsisting in the Deity.

This is deciding and conclusive. Yet the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 34. makes these exceptions. [Page 164]1st, That in the Armenian, Syriack, and the most ancient of the Greek Bibles, the reading is not the Church of God, but of Christ. 2ly, That admitting the reading God in the vulgar Editions of the Greek, yet some great Masters of the Greek Tongue have ren­der'd the Greek words thus. Feed the Church of God which he has purchas'd with his own Son's blood. 3ly, That admitting the Translation in our English Bi­bles, some learned men, particularly Erasmus, have noted, that the blood of Christ is here call'd the blood of God, because it was the blood which God gave for the redemption of the World: so Joh 1.36. This is the lamb of God, that is, the lamb of Sacrifice which God gives for the sins of the world.

These Gentlemen have the misfortune to call every thing an Answer. 1st, It is true that in some Copies these words have been read with some alteration, but nothing at all to their purpose; some few have read, the Churc [...] of the Lord, others, the Church of the Lord and God; but none the Church of Christ. They will much oblige the Common-wealth of Learning, if they will produce any of these best and most ancient Copies. A very learned Man of this Age has pretend­ed to prove, that the Church of Christ is not the lan­guage of the Scripture; and that when the Church is spoken of, by way of eminence, as it is in this Text, [...], The Church, it is often say'd to be [...], The Church of God, but never the Church of Christ: And this Criticism they will find true, if they give themselves the trouble to examine it. The Syriack Interpreter is rather an Expositor than a Translator: The Latin who is wholly a Translator and not an Ex­positor reads Ecclesiam Dei, The Church of God.

The second part of their Answer that some great Masters of the Greek Tongue have render'd, his own Son's blood, instead of his own blood, is a crying, notorious, [Page 165]and unpardonable falsification of a Text. What will be the end of our disputes, if when we are press'd with the undenyable evidence of a Scripture, we presume to add words to it, and usher in that Sacrilegious at­tempt upon the word of God, with saying, some great Masters of the Greek Tongue? When these Gentle­men talk of Syriack, Arabick, Coptick, Armenian, they may easily impose upon the simple; but for Greek which is common to all professions in this Kingdom, to tell us, that [...], with his own pro­per blood, is with his Son's blood; to make the falsificati­on Authentick by Attributing it to the great Masters of the Greek Tongue, and call this an Answer to a solid Objection is a piece of an Incomprehensible Con­fidence.

3ly, Socinus and Chrellius were more dexterous; who being press'd by this Text very fairly lay'd aside the word [...], own, wherein lyes the stress of the Argu­ment; but call'd it as Erasmus has done, the blood of God the Father; that is, the blood which God gave for the redemption of the World. They must forgive me, if I say that this is a meer trifle. God's own Lamb is the Lamb of God. God's own Son, is the Son of God. And God's own blood is the blood of him who is God.

Tit. 2.13 was urg'd by the Fathers against the Arrians, as a clear proof of the Divinity of Christ, Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the Great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Author of the Brief Histor. pag.—says to this, 1st. That nothing hinders that we may believe that not only the Lord Christ, but God himself will appear at the last judgment. 2ly, That the Glory of the Great God, is the Pomp, Power and Angels that God even the Father will cause to accompany Christ in that day. Matt. 16.27. The Son shall appear in the Glory of his Father with his, the Father's Angels.

The first of these two assertions is contrary to the Gospel, Joh. 5.22. The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son. The second is as contrary as the first, Matt. 25.31. When the Son of man shall come in his Glory .... Then shall he sit upon the Throne of his Glory.

But all this is nothing to the purpose, and diverts instead of resolving the question. The only difficul­ty which can be propos'd the Author of the History has declin'd. We prove from this Text that the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ is the same Person. That the Great God and Saviour are predi­cated, or say'd of Christ. This ought to have been deny'd, and reasons given for it; and this would have been to the purpose. But This Author saw it was not possible, and that the Greek dialect excludes in this place all the little Criticisms which come in heaps in other places. I wonder that those great Masters of the Greek Tongue, who did presume in the Text disputed of before this, to put the blood of his own Son, in the room of his own blood, have not here added an Article, and read, The Great God and the Saviour J. C. and pretended some ancient Copies, that Curcellaeus, or some body else had seen. This Text then is un­doubtedly ours. The Great God and Saviour of us, is the same way of speaking as The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The conjunctive Particle which unites God and Father, uniting also God and Saviour. Nor can they so much as dream here of a deputed God; since there is an Article here, and the Epithet Great added to it.

But nothing shews so much how far these Gentle­men are prejudic'd against the plainest evidence, than their answers to Joh. 20.28. [...]. The Lord of me, and the God of me. Socinus, says the Author of the Answer to Mr. Milbourn, pag. 32, and 34. with two more learned Unitarians contend, [Page 167] That it was the intention of Thomas to call our Saviour His Lord, and his God, but it is in no other sense than Solomon, Ps. 45. Moses, and Samuel. That God is us'd amongst the Eastern People, as the word Lord is us'd amongst us, who do not design to make a Man a God because we speak to him with a name which we also use to God. Yet though this comes from Socinus, this Author is not willing to stand to it. He says, This interpretation is likely to be true, but that divers learned Persons amongst their Opposers, and even of old Nestorius and Theodore of Mopswest were of opinion, that My Lord, and My God, are only words of admiration and thanks, di­rected not to our Saviour, but to God. They are an exclamation expressing the Apostle's amazement to find his Master was risen. He sends us to the Brief History.

The Author of that History is so little taken with the deputed God of Socinus, that he has not one Syllable of it. He says, pag. 32. That Nestorius was of opinion that the words were not design'd to Christ, but to God. For though the Evangelist says, Thomas answer'd and say'd to him, yet the exclamati­on might be adress'd to God, as its object, and the answer, to our Saviour. ...... It may be admitted as true what others say. O my Lord, are words of congratulation to our Saviour, O my God, words of admiration and praise to God.

Thus these Gentlemen cut and slash the Scripture, and shew how men who depart from the truth, are in­consistent with themselves. Socinus overcome by the evidence of the thing, acknowledges the words to be spoken to Christ, but contrary to his own rule, though the words are with an Article and so must belong to the true God, will have them to be understood of a deputed God, or a God by Office. Nestorius, Theodore and these Gentlemen are convinc't that the God spo­ken [Page 168]of here, is the Almighty. But though the Text expressly says, and [...]homas answer'd and say'd to him, My Lord, and My God, yet it must not be to him, but to God himself. They separate what the spirit of God has join'd; and though it is as clear as the Sun, that the word, My God, is say'd to him to whom the word My Lord is spoken, being both join'd by the Particle and, yet this will not do, one part must be a Compliment to Christ, the other a Prayer to God.

These Gentlemen would fain have new Bibles. The Author of the Answer to My Lord of Sarum, pag. 30. There will be no need of our Answers, or Defences, if there were but an honest Edition of the Bible. ..... We have no reform'd Bibles, none that have been corrected to speak the Doctrines of the Church, rather than of the Gospel. But 'tis above 1200 Years that others have been Modelling the common Bibles, by the Doctrines, and Articles of our Holy Mother Church. I think they do not ask enough. I would have them also find out a new Language, new ways for men to express themselves by. I would have them procure an Act of Parliament by which it shall be Enacted, that to Answer, and to speak to a Man, shall not be to answer, and to speak to him, but to some body else. I would have them take such vulgar noti­ons as these out of men's heads, and create in them new methods of thinking and receving impressions from what they hear, by being perswaded that though they receive an answer, yet it is not to them that it is given. Truly had I been in the Fifth General Coun­cil, where this answer of Theodore was condemn'd by the Fathers, syn. 5. coll. 4. I would not only have Anathematis'd the Impiety, but also the folly and impertinence of the Opinion. These two answers then invincibly consute one another. S [...]cinus con­futes that part which would not have the words to be spoken to the Saviour; and these Gentlemen con­fute [Page 169]that part which makes the God who is spoken to, to be a deputed God. They lead us to the true sence of this Text, that Thomas an Apostle has fully acknow­ledg'd that Christ is truly, and really God.

This Text has the advantage that it is uncontested, and come down to us without the least alteration. All is plain and clear in it. The resurection of Christ was deny'd by Thomas. His incredulity, says elegantly St. Austin, was more useful to the Church, than the Faith of the other Apostles. He protested that except he saw in his hands the prints of the nails, &c. he would not believe. The merciful Saviour condescends to let him make the Experiment which draws presently that noble confession of his Faith, My Lord, and My God: Which is the same as if he had say'd, I believe that thou art my Lord and my God. This inter­pretation is evident; 1st, By the words of Christ in the next Verse, where the Saviour takes no kind of notice of any Admiration, or Exclamation, as these Gentlemen would have it, but only replies to that profession of his Faith, Because thou hast seen Me thou hast believ'd; and lays down this Maxim the comfort of Christians in all succeeding Ages; Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believ'd. 2ly, The last Verse of this Chapter intimates that this History is written, that by that Zealous confession of his Faith, we might also be induc'd to believe, v. 31. But these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. 3ly, The resurrection of Christ was to be a proof of his Divinity. Rom, 1.4. declar'd to be the Son of God with power .... by the resurrection from the dead. It was not by being risen from the dead that Jesus was the Son of God: But his resur­rection was a Declaration to all Mankind, that he was so; and therefore Thomas being satisfy'd of his Resurrection, owns him for His Lord and his God.

The Fancy then of a deputed God has nothing to [Page 170]do here, nor indeed any where else. The Notion it self is contradictory and impossible. I easily appre­hend how a Man may be sent from God, and intrust­ed with his commands to the rest of his Fellow Crea­tures. But the very name of God excludes office and deputation. A made God is that which cannot be made; A deputed God is that which cannot be depu­ted. The office of God is God himself. When the Lord says to Moses Exod. 7.1. See I have made thee a God to Pharaoh, he explains what that is in the next Verse, Thou shalt speak all that I command thee. This is no deputed Divinity. There is not a God in Hea­ven, and a deputed God upon Earth. If the expression signifies no more than to speak or act from God, not only Moses and the Prophets, but every Father of a Family is a deputed God. If it imports no more, the notion is silly, and if it does, it is rash and unintelli­gible.

Socinus seeing Christ call'd God, and the Son of God so very often in Scripture, thought it a very easy way to rid himself of so many pregnant places gave him by this imaginary or deputed God, which he thought to have found in this mistaken place of Exod. and in Ps. 45. As if these two solitary Ex­pressions could ballance, or equal those repeated ones which assure us, that Christ is truly God. In one single place of Scripture Moses is say'd to be a God to Pharaoh. In innumerable places of Scripture Christ is call'd God, the Son of God, has the Names, the Attributes, the Nature of God, given him; There­fore Moses is God as Christ, and Christ God as Moses, both deputed Gods. A wild and irregular way of reasoning! Nor do I wonder that Socinus should be guilty of this: Though a Man of learning and parts, and the unhappy restorer of an Heresy long since bury'd in a deep Oblivion, and the first of a Sect to which he has left his name. It happen'd to him as to [Page 171]many who have not time to refine their Arguments, and do not so well understand their own system as they that come after. But I admire that Gentlemen who have receded from so many inadvertencies of Socinus, and of his outlandish followers, and have really given a turn and a force to great many of their Arguments which they themselves did not, nor could ever have done, have not yet parted from this poor, mean, empty, and if I am not too rude, ridiculous notion of a deputed God.

But admitting that Moses is such, and that his per­sonal qualifications, the diginity of his Office, his commerce with God, and his distinction from a peo­ple which it self was distinguish'd from all the Nati­ons in the Earth, give him a title to it, St. Paul has clearly stated the difference, and shews that if Moses in these Gentlemen's Principles is a God by Office, Christ must be a God by Nature. Heb. 3.2, 3, 4. The Author of the Epistle compares Christ with Moses. He says that Christ our High-Priest was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house; then v. 3. he shews how much Christ excells Moses, even as much as an Architect excell his own work, in as much as he that built the house, has more honour than the house. In as much as the maker of Moses is more excellent than Moses himself. He concludes v. 4. every house is built by some man, but he that builds all these things, not all things, as our translation reads, is God. Every building has some Man for its Architect, but these things which are built by Christ do far excel, be­cause the builder is God. If Moses then in these Gentlemen's supposition is a God by Office, what sort of God is Christ, who is the Maker of the God by Office? And how much of their assurance must these Gentlemen abate, who when any pressing place is cited of Christ being call'd God, send us dogmatically to Moses.

The Author of the Brief History, pag. 41. has cited indeed both this Chapter and these Verses, but has been very careful to avoid the objection by overlook­ing the 4. v. and indeed I commend him for it; The difficulty is real and solid. He plays at cross purposes, and after his Laconick way of speaking, he tells us, that the House here is not mens bodies, but the Church of Christ, which he under God is said to build: and so he dismisses us: whereas the Text does not say, he builds under God, but that he is God who builds all these things.

Many other places might be alledg'd to that pur­pose, but these are so clear, and the pretended An­swers to them so insufficient, that the assertion of the Author of the Consider. on the Sermon of the Bishop of Worcester, pag. 11. will appear strangely confident, That it cannot be satisfactorily prov'd that any Authentick Copies of the Bible, do give Christ the title of God, as he says the Author of the Brief Hist. has abundantly shewn. The Author of the History has not, and none of these Gentlemen will ever be able to do it. But it is the character of this Author in this Book, in the Answer to Mr. Milbourn, in that to Mr. la Motté, to venture upon any thing that comes first to hand, and to want that candor and modesty, that cool temper which the Author of the History has, and would be a great Ornament to his Parts and Learning.

One thing more I have to say before I conclude this, and it is, that besides those Arguments which have been lay'd before you, no Man can seriously read the sacred writings, but he will find those things say'd of Christ and to Christ, which no meer Creature is capable of.

1st, He is represented to us in such a height as tran­scends all Created Beings. Phil. 2.9, 10. That in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in Hea­ven, [Page 173]and things in Earth, and things under the Earth. 1 Pet. 3.22. Angels and authorities and powers are made subject to him. Matt. 28.18. All power is given me in Heaven and Earth. Joh. 15.16. All things that the Fa­ther has are mine, Joh. 15.5. without me you can do no­thing. He commands the Sea, the Winds, the De­vils, &c. He gives to others the power that he has, Mark. 16.17, 18. In my name shall they cast out De­vils, &c. All this looks like Omnipotency. If he is not God, men are naturally lead to Idolatry, by seeing in a Man all that we adore in God, and by which he is known to us.

2ly, Some men are call'd the Sons of God as Ad­am, the Angels, and just men who are all God's adopted Sons. But Christ is call'd the Son of God, so very often, so very Emphatically, with so great a so­lemnity, that it is unconceivable how this can be say'd of one who has no other relation to God, but to be the work of his hands, or the object of his favour. Act. 8.37. And Philip say'd, if thou believ'st with all thy heart, thou may'st; and he Answer'd and say'd, I be­lieve that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In the great uncertainty who that miraculous Person was, whether Elias, or John the Baptist, or any of the Prophets, St. Peter makes this confession, Matt. 16.16. thou art Christ the Son of the living God. Christ himself replies, that on this confession the Church is buil't, on this the salvation of men depends. v. 17. That this is not the result of natural inquiry, and that Flesh and blood has not reveal'd it to him; but my Father which is in Hea­ven. A declaration made not only by poor men here below, but come down from above, once at his Baptism, Matt. 3.17. a second time in the glory of his transfi­guration. Matt. 17.5. This is my beloved Son. An ho­mage which the very unclean spirits, the Devils themselves pay'd him. Mark. 3.11. and the unclean spirits when they saw him fell before him .... thou art [Page 174]the Son of God. and Mark. 5.7. the Son of the most High God. If to be the Son of God is no more than to be remarkable by the examples of a holy life, though in as great a measure as our nature is capable of; Is it not unaccountable that revelation should be necessary; that Heaven should inform us, that the very Devils should proclaim it; that our Faith, and Eternal Salvation should be built upon it? Does not this naturally incline men to believe that this very Jesus in that despicable nature by which he appears as a Man, has another which none but the Father could reveal, and is far beyond the discoveries of Flesh and Blood?

3ly, None but God could descend to the incredible humiliation of Christ Jesus. No Man can properly be say'd to humble himself, no not to the death of the Cross. None humbles himself in dying, who is form'd to dye. No Creature humbles it self in suf­fering who is born to suffer, and is subject to vanity. I understand how God humbles himself in becoming Man. This is easy to apprehend. But how the best of men can humble himself in becoming Man when it is not at all his choice; and in suffering for his Fel­low Creatures, which even in the sence of bad men is the most glorious thing in the World, is past my ap­prehension. None but he can humble himself, in whom is found between the state that he is in, and that which he assumes, an infinite disproportion. Nothing shews more evidently what Christ was before his humiliation than that series and order of stupendous Miracles which attend that very state. To be figur'd by the Patriarchs, announc't by the Prophets, to be born of a Virgin, to be declar'd by the Angels, Immanuel, God with us; to exercise a despotick power over the whole Creation, to rise from the dead, to ascond to Heaven, to sit at the right hand of God, are convincing Ar­guments that he is more than a Creature.

3ly, The name of Lord is given him, which all the Interpreters agree is the Jehovah of the Hebrews. These Gentlemen must own this themselves. I know that the Author of the Considerat. on the Bishop of Sarum's Fourth Discourse pag. 22. has quarrell'd with his Lordship, because he says that it is the peculiar name of God. He tells him that the Socinians deny it, and pretend to prove that the name Jehovah is given to particular Persons and communities, and pag. 23, 24. that we are like to have great many Jehovahs, since if the word Lord is Jehovah, that Pontius Pilate is call'd so, Matt. 27.63. that [...], Lord, is no more than Master, and Sir, Joh. 20.15.

But I know also that all this is a quibble, and that such things as these are should not drop from the Pen of a Learned Man, as this Author is; nor to such a knowing Person as the Bishop. For who is he that has the least tincture of Hebrew but knows that the facred name Jehovah signifies Essence, Existence, and nothing else. As God himself has express'd it, Exod. 3.14. I am, that I am; which if it is not peculiar to God a Primitive and Self Existent being, I know no­thing that is peculiar to him. This is so true, that Chrellius himself has own'd that it follows the nature of proper names. It is undenyable, that the Translators of the Old Testament, have constantly render'd Jehovah by the word, Lord; and it is from thence that the sacred writers of the New Testament, who as the Bishop observes, were Jews, spoke like Jews, and un­derstood the full importance of their own language, have Attributed it to Christ. And though the word Lord sometimes signifies no more, than Sir, or Master, as in the instances produc't by this Author, yet the stream of the Scriptures is against this mean shift. Act. 10.36. he is Lord of all. Act. 2.36. God has made him Lord and Christ. Rom. 14.9. The Lord both of the dead and living. 1 Cor. 2.8. The Lord of [Page 176]Glory. Revel. 19.16. Lord of Lords. But particularly 1 Cor. 8.5, 6. For though there be that are call'd Gods, whether in Heaven, and in Earth, as there be Gods many, and Lords many, To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by him. None of these places can be understood of Master, and Sir. The first notion which they present to the mind is of a sovereign, supreme, and Divine Authority. The name Johovah being given to Persons, Angels, places, and communities, is another miserable evasion. Nay, it is a substantial proof for us; For if that sacred name was only given to places which God honour'd with his presence, or to them in whom he spoke; It shews that the presence of God was the only rea­son of the name. It remains still proper to him; and there being no prefence of God so great and so intimate as the Union of the two Natures, and God appearing visibly so much in no Man as in Christ Jesus, he is truly our Jehovah.

4ly, Who can think Christ a meer Man, a meer Crea­ture, as these Gentlemen call him, who seriously con­siders the words of St. Peter, act. 4.12. Neither is there Salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven, given amongst men, by which we must be sav'd: Coloss. 3.17. Whatsoever you do, in word, or deed, do all in the name of Jesus. Matt. 1.21. he shall save his People from their sins. Eph. 1.7. in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. I beg of them to leave Mankind to the common notices which they bring with them into the World, and not to overrule that universal way of thinking which the Creator has given them. Is this spoken of the Doctrine or of the Person of the Holy Jesus? Does not all this suppose an excellency which no Created being can attain to? Can saving, redeeming, forgiv­ing, atoning, be the privilege of any creature? If [Page 177]the Prophet speaking of men's natural death says, Psal. 49.7. that no man can redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, how much less can any one free us from the Eternal Condemnation due to Sin?

5ly, The coming of no Man into the World is ex­press'd as that of Christ. Leave one to himself out of the noise and prejudice of a dispute, and in the reading of the Scripture he will easily see that it supposes know­ledge, Choice, Pre-Existence in him, who took our nature. 2 Cor. 8.9. You know the Grace of our Lord J. C. that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his proverty might become rich. Phil. 2.7. He took upon him the form of a servant, was made in the likeness of men was found in fashion as a man. Heb. 2.16. he took not on him the nature of Angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 1 Joh. 5.20. and we know that the Son of God vs come. 1 Joh. 3.8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, appear'd, to destroy the works of the Devil. Heb. 9.25. he has appear'd to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

6ly, The Grace of God by which he pardons our sins, and capacitates us for an Eternal Life is so pecu­liar to God that no Man has yet pretended to deny it. But how often is it attributed to Christ? Act. 15.11. but we believe that through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved, even as they. 2 Cor. 12.9. and he say'd to me, my Grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness; most gladly there­fore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. The Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 37. is strangely Embarass'd to answer this. He says, That the words before the Text cited, I besought the Lord thrice, ..... are spoken to God, not to Christ. The power of Christ is the strength which he procures by his mediation with God. The Socinians for the most part grant that the word, or power of God abiding in Christ does qualify him to hear our Prayers.

I would ask this Author, if the words are spoken to God, what signifies this Socinian acknowledgment of Christ hearing our Prayers, which overthrows all the rest? And if they are spoken to Christ, why did he not consider better before he deny'd it? He saw, and so must the most infatuated Person, that the power of Christ, is that Grace, which is sufficient and was so earnestly pray'd for, and that it is the Grace of him who was pray'd to, and who answer'd the Apostle, Gal. 2.8. He that wrought effectually in Peter to the Apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me to [...]ard the Gen­tiles, Eph. 2.13. But now in C.J. you who were sometimes afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Tit. 3.7. that being justify'd by his Grace we should be made heirs accord­ing to the hope of Eternal life, Rom. 16.24. The Grace of our Lord J.C. be with you all. And more fully. 2 Cor. 13.14. The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with you all.

These two last places they have excepted against. This last Text demonstrates, says the Author of the Brief Hist. pag. 31. that neither the Lord Christ nor the Holy Spirit are God; for it plainly distinguishes them from God. I say that it demonstates that the Lord Christ is God, since he is the Author and giver of Grace; and that the Holy Spirit is God since he communicates those graces to us, which none but God can give, and both are join'd to God, who, as this very Author explains it in this very place, is the Father. So that it plainly distinguishes them not from God, but only from the Father, and shews ex­cellently the operations of the Three Persons. The Author of the answer to My Lord of Sarum, has fore­seen this, and therefore winds another way, and says pag. 21. that it is true, that Grace, Mercy and Peace are pray'd for from the Lord Christ, but that they are also pray'd from them who certainly are no Gods. Rev. 1.4. Grace be to you and peace from him which is, [Page 179]and which was, and which is to come, and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, and from J. C. But he seems to make no difference between a Salutation, and a Prayer. The one is the introduction to what St. John had to say, and from whom he spoke. The other is the conclusion of a discourse which to make the more effectual, he prays to Christ without whom we can do nothing, to give us his grace; to the Fa­ther, to continue those repeated Testimones of his love to us, and to the Holy spirit, to influence us in­to the practice of the duty commanded. I may wish peace and grace to any Man from all the Angels in Heaven; but I must not pray for Grace Peace and Mercy to any created being.

This Author in the same page has given us a speci­men how easy it is to extricate one self of the most substantial difficulties. 'Tis a folly to read, or think. There is a quicker way to strike dumb a Man of the Bi­shop's parts and judgment. His Lordship says that Christ cannot be a Creature, because the Apostle speaking of him says, Gal. 1.5. to whom be glory for ever, and ever, an Eulogy given to none in Scripture but the Almighty. The Prelate follow'd in this the constant notion of the Jews, so visible in both the Testaments, that no truth is clearer, conceiving by the word Glory, either the essential happiness of God, his incompre­hensible greatness, or his glorious appearance to men, and the earnest wishes of pious Souls that this should be for ever acknowledg'd by all his creatures. Matt. 6.13. for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever. 1 Sam. 4.21. Exod. 24.16. Esay. 6.1. Joh. 12.41. Act. 7.55. Mark. 8.38. 2 Pet. 1.3. and very many other places. The way to answer this, is either to deny the notion, and shew that it is either false or mistaken: or else to prove that this way of expression is not us'd only to God. But this cannot be done; and therefore this Author replies, That glory and ho­nour [Page 180]are Equivalent Terms in the Greek: that for ever and ever is no more than for ever: that Daniel who say'd to a heathen Prince, O king live for ever, would not have scrupl'd to say, O king, I wish thee glory for ever: that he should not be reckon'd an Idolater for wishing His Lordship perpetual honour.

One must have a great deal of charity to believe these Gentlemen to be in earnest, and not endeavour to banter Religion out of doors, when such crude and indigested answers drop from their Pen. Glory with them is no more than Honour, and Lord is no more than Master, and Sir, and Worship is the same as how do you do? To worship another, says this Author, pag. 27. often fignifies no more than to salute them by bowing and the like, which superiors do to inferiors. This is true. But when God brings the first begotten into the World, the Emanuel, the God with us, the Redeemer of Mankind, his only Son, when he subjects the whole Creation to him, and commands the very Angels to adore him, Heb. 1.7. and let all the Angels of God worship him, does all this amount to no more than asking how he does do?

I will give one instance more how these Gentlemen take the wrong side of a thing when they please. His Lordship has insisted that it is a vast absurditiy that the same acts in which we adore God should be at the same time offer'd to a Creature, than which no­thing is truer. But his Lordship, says this Author, pag. 26. is guilty of a much vaster inadvertency, as he himself will be oblig'd to confess, when he casts his Eye upon the following Text, 1 Chr. 29.20. All the congregation blessed the Lord God of their Fathers, and bowing their heads worshipped the Lord and the King. In which words worship is given to the King, as to the Lord, and yet is no Idolatry. But this Author is himself guilty of a vast mistake. For worship as it is an act of Religion, is pay'd neither to the Lord, [Page 181]nor to the King, in this last part of the Text. That that is adress'd to God is in the first. All the congre­gation blessed the Lord God of their Fathers. The rest is no more than a civility pay'd, at their parting, to the King, who was then present, and to the place where they worship'd; as at this time we bow either in the Church, or towards the Altar; and yet on this sort of trifling answers, these Gentlemen gravely in­sist, to oppose the plainest and clearest truths.

Another Text he has cited to this purpose, 1 Tim. 5.21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect Angels, where says this Author an Apostle joins Creatures with God in the Highest act of Reli­gion, i.e. an adjuration. I can see nothing in this like Religious worship. The Apostle prays neither to God, nor to Christ, nor to the Angels. He might as well have added before the Holy City, and before all the World. St. Paul had given those directions to Timothy which have been the ground of all the Canons made since in the Church. He insists that he should be faithful to them, and as a motive to his obedience, he intreats him by all that is holy, by God, by J. C. by the Elect Angels. This I find to be the sence of most Interpreters; nor do I know any amongst the ancients, or the Protestant Commenta­tors, who so much as dream't that this did import adoration to any creature.

7ly, To adore, to trust in, to believe, are Acts which can have none but God for their object. But all this is so often attributed to Christ, that it cannot be deny'd with any sort of modesty. Heb. 1.7. let all the Angels of God woship him, Matt. 12.21. in his name shall the Gentiles trust, render'd by the Apostle, in him shall the Gentiles trust. Eph. 1.12, 13. that we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ, in whom also you trusted after that you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in whom also after [Page 182]that you believ'd, you were seal'd with that holy spirit of promise, Act. 20.21. repentance towards God and Faith towards our Lord J.C. 2 Tim. 3.15. which are able to make thee wise to salvation through faith which is in C.J. Gal. 2.16. knowing that a man is not justify'd .... but by the Faith of J.C. even we have believ'd in J.C. that we might be ju­stify'd by the faith of Christ. The Scripture is so full to this, that it is not so much to cite as to transcribe.

But is this Author serious when pag. 26. of his an­swer to the Bishop, to elude the strength of this, and of five hundred places more, he brings in dogmati­cally, 1 Sam. 12.18. The people greatly fear'd the Lord and Samuel, and Exod. 14.31. The people believ'd the Lord, and his servant Moses. I wonder he has omit­ted, fear God and honour the King, for it is as much to the purpose. Will men ever be guilty of that crying injustice to pretend to overthrow the Faith once deli­ver'd to the Saints, and ruine at once the Authority of vast many Texts, by one or two single and solitary places of Scripture, which when all is done signify nothing to the question in hand. Christ is propos'd to Mankind as the Son of God, as the Saviour and Re­deemer of their Souls, as the only name under Hea­ven by which we can be sav'd. The end of the Scri­pture is that we should believe in him; he that be­lieves shall be sav'd: he that does not believe is con­demn'd already, and we are put off with Moses and Samuel, whom the people did believe, because they confirm'd, by a Miracle, the truth which they de­liver'd.

8ly, He that is pray'd to is God, for none but God can be the object of our Prayers. To hear, to know, to relieve our wants naturally supposes Omniscience and Omnipotence. It is incomprehensible that the generality of Socinians should contend that Christ is to be pray'd to, which is the assertion of the Author of one Brief History, pag. 33, and worship'd with divine [Page 183]worship, and yet deny him to be God. To give Divine worship to a creature, is a plain, and inex­cusable Idolatry. Strange! that the force of truth should extort from them that he is to be ador'd, and yet that he is not God the only being whom we ought to adore!

The English Socinians see the force of this conse­quence, therefore they deny that Christ is to be pray'd to. But one cannot read without indignation this assertion of the Author in their defence, pag. 33. It appears, says he, by St. Austin and Photius, that Origen deny'd that the Son was to be ador'd, or pray'd to. He cites Origen lib. 8. contr. Cels. who says he, expresly deny'd that Christ is to be invocated; he adds, that it cannot be doubted, that Origen spoke the sence of the Catholick Church of his time. This Author then is positive, that neither Origen, nor the Church in his time, believ'd it lawful to pray to Christ. But he should have taken the pains to read the place which he has cited. He must have been convinc't that he has cited at random, and that Origen has no such thing. The 8th Book alledg'd with so much assurance by the Author has not a single line which seems to have a tendency to this. On the con­trary it has invincible proofs that Origen, and con­sequently the Catholick Church of his time did think it not only lawful, but even necessary to pray to Christ.

The Father begins that very Book by imploring the help of God, and of the word the only begotten of God, on himself who having finish'd the 7th, was now writing the 8th Book against the lyes and slanders of Celsus. Having asserted the Pre-Existence and Eternity of Christ, his most intimate Union with the Father, he says, pag. 386. Edit. Cantab. We adore one God, and his only Son, his word, and his image with our supplications, offering our prayers to God through his only Son, to whom first we ad­dress them, beseeching him, that as he is a propitiation for our [Page 184]sins, he would like our High-Priest, offer to the most b [...] God, our prayers, intercessions, sacrifices, &c. pag. 3 5. None is to be pray'd to but the most High God, and to only begotten, the first born of every Creature, the word of God, pag. 422. We sing Hymns only to God who is above all things and to God the word his only begotten Son. This shews the practice and belief of the Church o [...] that time and of the very Primitive Church before, to adore Christ in those Hymns made in his praise. Carmen Christo quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem says Pliny to the Emperor, lib. 10 Epis. 97. to sing an Hymn a­mongst themselves to Christ, as God. An authority brought by Tertullian Apol. c. 2. which teaches us, that all that Pliny could know of their Religious rites, was that they met before day, ad canendum Christo ut Deo, to sing Hymns to Christ as to their God. I know that these Gentlemen, who under pretence of Critising will alter any writings, have pretended to read Christo & Deo, to Christ and to God. But I know this to be a willful mistake, the ancient and genuine reading being Christo ut Deo. Thus Eusebius citing this very place of Tertullian Chron. l. 2. [...]. translated by St. Jerom in Ter­ [...]ullian's own words, to sing to Christ as God. A practice which the same Eusebius, Hist. lib. 5. c. 28. says to have been of Justin Martyr, Miltiades, Tati­anus, Clemens, Melito, Jrence, The earliest and best times of Christianity having given this testimony to Christ's Divinity, and to the Prayers offer'd him.

But how could it ever enter into these Gentlemen's heads to deny praying to Christ upon such unconclu­ding Arg [...]ments as the Answerer to Mr. Milbourn, and the Author of the Brief Hist. have us'd, when they cannot but see it practis'd in Scripture, Luk. 17.5. Lord increase our haith, Mark 9.24. Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief. Nor will the mean evasion serve, that it is no more than recommending our selves to [Page 185]one another's Prayers. What Creature dares to say to another Creature, without Blasphemy, or Idolatry, increase my Faith, help my unbelief, Acts 7.59. They ston'd Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus receive my Spirit. If this be not praying, adoring, and exercising the highest act of trust imaginable, there is no such thing in the World. Compare this place with 1 Pet. 4.19. commit the keeping of their Souls to him ..... as unto a faithful Creator; and tell me the difference between committing our Souls, and offer­ing our Spirit to be receiv'd.

The answer of the Author of the Hist. to this pag. 32. is so strange, that had I seen it in any Book but his own, I wou'd have said that it is a Satyr upon him, and a gross slander. 1st Says he, the name God, is not in any Greek Copy. True: But does not [...] to pray, to implore, or as the Latin Interpreter, to invocate, imply the word God? since the very action has God for its object. The Prebendaries of West­minster are gone to pray; therefore they do not pray to God, because the word God is not nam'd in the Proposition. This is all foolish, since the very nature of the thing imports that it is to God to whom they make their addresses. 2ly, He says, that the Greek render'd Grammatically makes this sence, O Lord of Jesus receive my spirit, which is false, trifling, ridicu­lous, and not worth a reply. 3ly, He pretends the meaning to be only this, Stephen call'd upon God, and say'd Lord Jesus, because at the same time he saw Jesus in a Prophetick Vision, standing at the right hand of God. This is sillily and falsly alledged, Stephen call'd upon God and said,—He who he spoke to, was he whom he call'd upon. Whether he saw him or no is not the question? But the offering his departing Soul into his hands, and praying that he would receive it into his mercy, is the stress of the Argument, and is praying, adoring, relying upon him; acts of such a nature, as [Page 186]cannot without Blasphemy and Idolatry be offer'd to any but God.

9thly, Can any thing more visibly infer the Omni­presence, and Omniscience of Christ than Matt. 18.20. Where two or three are gather'd together in my name, there am I in the midst of them, Matt. 28.20. and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the World, Mark 2.8. When Jesus perceiv'd in his spirit that they so rea­son'd within themselves, he say'd unto them, why reason ye these things in your hearts, Joh. 2.29. he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man, 1 Cor. 4.5. who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make mani­fest the counsels of the hearts, Rev. 2.23. I am he who searches the reins, and hearts, and I will give to every one of you according to your works. Compare these Texts with those by which God discovers his Divine quali­fications to us, and you will be forc'd to acknowledge that they are not more full and home then these.

The answers to most of these Texts, as most of So­cinian answers, are all fram'd to elude, and not to re­solve the difficulty. They consist in a bad reason, and in a place of Scripture strangely misunderstood, and worse apply'd. The reason is, Brief Hist. pag. 44, and 36. that the knowledge of Christ which he has, or shall have of any one's secret thoughts is a re­velation made to him by God, as it was also, and may be to other Prophets. The Text which right or wrong they repeat at every turn, is Revel. 1.1. The revela­tion of J.C. which God gave to him to shew to his servants.

The reason is worth nothing; For God's reveal­ing of men's thoughts to a Prophet, no not the fullest revelation that ever was made, can come up to that extent which belongs to none but God, I am he who searches the reins and the hearts. No instance in Scrip­ture can be produc'd of this. Though God has been pleas'd to reveal to a Man, the thoughts of another [Page 187]Man; 2 King. 6.12. yet this was ever particular and declar'd that God did it then. None ever assum'd to himself to make manifest the counsels of the hearts of all men. It is so much God's Prerogative and Chara­cter, that by it he is known to us.

Their Explication of Rev. 1.1. is as bad. They make it to suppose ignorance in Christ, whom we have prov'd to know all things, and is inconsistent with that Omniscience so clearly spoken of before. Had these Gentlemen vouchsaf'd to lend one Ear to the Fa­thers and to the latter Divines of the greatest repu­tation, they would have met with these judicious Ob­servations on this Text. 1st It shews at most that whatsoever Christ knows, he knows it from the Fa­ther receiving his knowledge as he receives his Es­sence, that is, from Everlasting. 2ly, It proves that God reveals nothing to men, but by the inter­vention of C. J. the Eternal and only mediator be­tween God and Man. 1 Tim. 3.5. in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Eph. 3.12. by whom we have access by faith into his Grace. Rom. 5.2. who is to us the fountain of all knowledge, For no man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son of the Father he has declar'd him. Joh. 1.18. and v. 16. and of his fullness we have all receiv'd. The sence then of the Text is, that God has appointed in this, as in all other things, that men might come to God by him, and be inform'd of the future events lay'd in this Sacred Book. That that shews the solidity if this in­terpretation, is that no part of the Sacred Writings has clearer testimonies of the Divinity of our Saviour than this, and God will not contradict in the very first Verse what he has so plainly asserted afterwards. The very Text it self, if seriously consider'd, is a proof of Christs equality with God, by his being above Angels whose Ministery he so often commands in this Book, and above men who are call'd here his Ser­vants, [Page 188] [...] the servants of him, Christ. No intel­ligent substance being above the Angelical or human, but the Divine.

I am afraid I have tir'd you, and will therefore draw to a Conclusion. If you take together all that has been say'd, I doubt not but that you will be satis­fy'd that Socinianism is inconsistent with that revelati­on which God has made of himself. I have lay'd be­fore you two sorts of proofs. Very many of them are direct, and shew invincibly that Christ is God. The other are indirect, but yet of that force and clearness, that they make it evident that all this can­not be say'd of a creature how excellent soever, no Creature in the utmost extent of perfection imagin­able, being capable of what the Scripture attributes to Christ.

The first reading of the Socinian Writings will im­pose upon an unwary Reader, the second and third will have quite another effect, and discover an incre­dible weakness. They oppose a few misunderstood places to the stream of Scripture. These they urge with obstinacy, and instead of reducing these few Texts, to the vast many assertions of the Sacred Wri­ters, and giving them that sence which they are really capable of; They strain and endeavour to re­duce to them the whole body of Divine truths, than which nothing is more unjust or unsincere. In human disputes such a way of arguing would be laught out of doors. How much less is it to be suffer'd in a con­troversy of so sacred a nature as this is. They catch at Moses being say'd to be a God to Pharaoh. At the Angels being call'd Elohim; At Magistrates having the name of Gods given them: And on this they build as­sertions which give the lye to the constant Doctrines of the Scriptures. They have rak't all that the ancient and modern Hereticks have blasphem'd against the Faith; and this they boldly oppose to the decrees of [Page 189]the most ancient, most universal, and most venerable Councils, to the unanimous consent of the whole Christian World, to the writings of the pious and learned Fathers.

The holy Jesus is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever. His Church has been in possession above sixteen hundred years of adoring and praying to him. His in­finite merits are the only comfort and security of dy­ing sinners. The Eternal word made Flesh has been all along the great object of our Faith, and we have to deal now with a sort of unreasonable men, who pretend to unravil all this, and lay the Divine Fabrick to the ground, by mean shifts, poor evasions, and by dila­pidating plain Texts with endless and groundless Criticisms.

I hope that you will be just to your self, and make all the haste you can to return to the Faith. To deny the Lord that has bought us, is an execrable piece of ingratitude; and it is strange that people who read the Scripture with any share of humility and sincerity should fall into that excess. That God would open your Eyes, that you may see the glorious Gospel of his Son J C. and give you Grace to sub­ject whatsoever exalts it self in you against his know­ledge and Service is the passionate wish of,

SIR,
Your humble, and Faithful Servant,L.
FINIS.

THE Reader is humbly desir'd to excuse the Er­rors of the Press, by reason of my not being in Town.

BOOKS lately Printed for Thomas Bennet.

THE Lives of all the Princes of Orange, from William the Great, Founder of the Common­wealth of the Ʋnited Provinces. Written in French by the Baron Maurier, in 1682: whose Father was Twenty Years Ambassador at the Hague. And Pub­lished at Paris by Order of the French King. To which is added the Life of His Present Majesty, King William the Third. By Mr. Thomas Brown. Toge­ther with each Prince's Head before his Life. Done from Original Draughts, by Mr. Robert White.

Mr. Bossu's Treatise of the Epick Poem, containing Curious Reflections, very useful and necessary for the right Understanding and Judging of the excellency of Homer and Virgil: done into English, with some Re­flections on Prince Arthur, by W. S. To which are added an Essay on Satyr, by Mr. Dacier, and a Treatise of Pastoral Poetry, by Monsieur Fontanelle.

Monsicur Rapine's Reflections upon Aristotle's Poetry, Englished by Mr. Rymer, together with some Re­flections on our Modern Poets.

A Sermon Preach'd at Whitehall, on Sunday Sept: 8. 1695. being the Day of Thanksgiving for the ta­king of Namur. By J. Adams, A. M. Rector of St. Alban's Woodstreet. Published by Order of the Lords Justices.

The Foolish Abuse, and Wise Use of Riches. A Sermon Preach'd in the Parish Church of Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, May 1. 1695. By Will. Talbot, D. D. and Dean of Worcester.

Malebranch's Treatise concerning the Search after Truth; the whole Work compleat: To which is added a Treatise of Nature and Grace, by the same Author; being a consequence of his Principles con­tained in the Search. Together with F. Malebranch's Defence against Mr. De la Ville, and several other Adversaries. All Englished by T. Taylor, M. A. of Magdalen College, and Printed at Oxford. In Folio.

A Voyage to the World, of Des Cartes. Englished by T. Taylor, M. A. of Magdalen-College.

In the Press. Sermons upon several Occasions, by R. Meggot, D. D. late Dean of Winchester.

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